Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Divine Gift of Repentance

"Repentance means striving to change... Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such strivings." Elder D. Todd Christofferson, The Divine Gift of Repentance

This quote has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been in Relief Society meetings in a variety of wards where a lesson on this talk was taught, and this line always stands out to me. I think it stands out to me because I have felt the pain of those repeated attempts. I know what it feels like to start and stop, and start again, over and over. It can be incredibly discouraging, but I know that there is something refining and holy in striving diligently to overcome, and those repeated attempts are sanctifying. They help to cleanse your soul. I know this, because years of those repeated attempts is exactly what I needed to be able to overcome.

"Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23). Perhaps as much as praying for mercy, we should pray for time and opportunity to work and strive to overcome, surely the Lord smiles upon one who desires to come to judgment worthily, who resolutely labors day by day to replace weakness with strength. Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul, for indeed "virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; [and] mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own (D&C 88:40). With repentance we can steadily improve in our capacity to live the celestial law." Elder D. Todd Christofferson, The Divine Gift of Repentance

As a woman in the LDS Church, who struggled with an addiction to pornography for years, I know that the gift of repentance is really divine. It is an amazing gift. I know that it takes time, a lot of time. I know that it takes effort, a lot of effort. I know that it is hard, really really hard. But I also know that it is all totally worth it. Satan will try as hard as he can to get you to believe otherwise. I  have seen him use so many different tactics on so many different people. Satan knows us quite well, and he individualizes his attacks on each of us. Unfortunately he can be quite effective in his attacks. But God knows us even better. His arms of mercy are continually extended toward us, and if we will reach back out to them, we can find so much peace, and joy, and safety in them.

If you are struggling, and feel like you can't do it on your own any more, ask for help. You may not struggle with pornography like me, for you it may be drugs or alcohol or sex or swearing whatever else you are having trouble with. You aren't alone. Don't be afraid to raise your hand, and say you are stuck and can't do it alone anymore. You might tell a friend, or someone in your family, or your Bishop, you can even tell me. But tell someone. Get the help you need. Get rid of any shame you are feeling, and start working towards recovery. The road is long, but it is worth it.

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