In the Book of Mormon, we learn that this life is a time of probation, a time to learn to prepare to meet God. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a gift from God to help us be able to progress line upon line. But sometimes we can forget that progression is not the same as perfection. We can misunderstand the injunction from the Savior to be perfect.
[P]erfection is a developmental process, something we learn “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Ne. 28:30), we can let go of guilt trips and over-complication of our lives. We can better understand the truly wondrous gift of the Atonement, which as Elder Bruce C. Hafen (BA ’66) has said, is not just to erase our mistakes, but to provide a way for us “to learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them.” – Janet Scharman
Bruce Hafen also said:
[S]criptures make it clear that we do not achieve perfection solely through our own efforts. Knowing just that much is a source of new perspective. Because we feel overwhelmed with the scriptural injunction to seek perfection, the idea that divine grace is the final source of our perfection may seem too good to be true. That is how Christ’s grace appears to those carrying the burden of truly serious sins. Honest people called “Saints” may feel the same way as they stumble daily through the discouraging debris of their obvious imperfections. But the gospel has good news not only for the serious transgressor, but for all who long to be better than they are. – Beauty for Ashes – The Atonement of Jesus Christ