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Is help from God available to the wretch that does not deserve it?
By harveyf
7/27/2013 6:14:20 PM
I am that wretch and the short answer is yes, I have grown up in the church, went on a mission, married in the temple, and had many church callings over the years. Still with all my knowledge, including a burning testimony that the church is true, it did not help me in my addiction. I believed the gospel works (for other people but not for me) I thought I was alone, uniquely broken, and beyond help, God would not want to help me, I fell too far. I needed to get a new understanding of HIM. The Church's recovery program taught me that God loves me, sinful or not HE wants to help me, grace is the central theme of repentance (unmerited help). God will help me, not because I am good, but because HE is good. I have learned that repentance is, a come as you are party, I do not have to clean myself up before I can come to him. I learned that I can come to HIM in all my filth and sin and HE is there wanting to help me. I had all the puzzle pieces but did not know how to put them together and make the Atonement work for me. I believed all the lies Satan told me. Satan used my misunderstanding of the scriptures to discourage me, here is an example, "saved by grace AFTER all we can do. I took this to be that I am to do all I can by myself then fall flat on my face, and ONLY THEN would God help. I thought I had to prove myself worthy FIRST, and EARN his help. I thought that I had to show some sobriety on my part before I could expect HIS help. I would have to hike back up the trail to where I strayed off, before I could expect any help from above. And guess what, I could not stay clean that long and discouragement set in, and I would give up yet again. I believed my whole life that ALL blessings are ONLY predicated upon the principals of righteousness, “and when we obtain Any blessing from God it is only by obedience to the Law”.

I have since learned the truth that Father wants to be there at the beginning, and all the way through our trial, and even more when we fall on our face. The Atonement is so amazing. Unlocking its power, is my lifelong goal. It is when I fell off the trail, rolled to the bottom, or so I thought, and then fell off the cliff, and then hit bottom: I turned around and HE was right there with me, I did not have to prove myself, I did not have to hike back to where I fell off the trail, or do anything but cry out for help and HE was there to comfort and help me. I believe that in the church, that works are stressed more than the grace. I think the church thinks it is better to lean to the works side, because too many people would rely too much on grace to save them, without having to do anything. As an addict however, I have to rely on the grace of God. I cannot rely on works because of the chains of the adversary are too thick to break; I had lost much of me free agency to do good. I am not good enough, never can be. As an addict I fell so short of the mark, compared to “normal people”. The 12 steps work, its true, and is now official church doctrine. Step one to give up doing it on my own, this step took over 35 years for me, you cannot find the right anything that will work, and I cannot do it without Christ. Step 2, Christ can and wants to free all of us from bondage, step 3 is to put Christ in the driver’s seat of our life and let him do it. Steps 4-12 teaches how to turn our entire life over to Christ. The 12 steps for me is a repentance program for dummies, which is what I needed, to be taught step by step how to repent and overcome. Knowledge of the Atonement is the greatest knowledge I can ever obtain. I am sure obedience comes into play along the way for the continued support and help from the Lord. I am sure however that at least in the beginning no righteousness or worthiness is needed. Only a sincere desire and a broken heart and contrite spirit.
I wish the church would change the name of the program from the addiction recovery program to the atonement utilization program. I thought the time I spent in the PASG program was time wasted on my mortal journey back to God. I wanted to get past this stinking porn addiction and get on the straight and narrow path. I have learned over the years that this program IS a fast track back to HIM I wish my “normal” brothers and sisters have a chance to try the 12 steps for themselves. CS lewis talked about many people thinking that God has not given enough help to overcome. He said the perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn is to rely on God, that lesson may be more important than overcoming a particular addiction. I have been on this recovery journey for some time now, and have whined about not being cured yet, instead of being grateful for what miracles I have received from my Heavenly Father. I know that I am not alone in my stinken thinkin. I am so glad that I do not have to do this alone and that there is such great help out there. I am so far from being cured but grateful for the disease being in remission, hopefully until I am safely dead.
harveyf

Comments:

You deserve it...    
"“Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.” – Cheiko N. Okazaki, former counselor in the General Presidency of the Relief Society "
posted at 20:06:27 on July 27, 2013 by matt78
"Take my yoke upon you..."    
"harveyf,
My dear friend. You seem to have answered the very question that your post asked. Now, as you speak of the Atonement...once Christ's Atonement has been made full force in our life, we are then considered to be 'perfected in Christ.' When that happens, it is our responsibility to simply continue strengthening our relationship with him. Doing so will give us the peace and contentment that we all want, and; it will also keep the force of the Atonement fully active in our lives. I am a recovering addict and have been clean for ten years now. I spent seven years of my life in and out of prison in Utah because I was not able to overcome it on my own. Once I felt that witness of the Saviors Atonement through the repentance process, I have never looked back since. I am now a facilitator for the Addiction Recovery meeting here my stake in California and I love it with all of my heart. In fact, I am about to be ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood in which I am deeply honored. I do not in any way regret my past and that is because of a talk I heard a general authority give us once while at the prison. He said, "Most of you here in this room have agreed to partake of the test of addiction here in mortality, and the Father is very aware of your circumstances. You should feel very blessed because you are paying most of your repentance process consequences by being here. The Lord wants you to continue in your way, for as you overcome your addiction here, you will then be in a position to help serve the Lord in saving others who will travel similar roads. Moreover, once you go beyond the veil, you will be sent on missions to those within the spirit prison doors to teach those not as fortunate as you as they will listen to you because you, having gone through what they did, are in a position in which they will listen to you and know that you understand them."
I was never so touched as hearing those words as I had never thought of it like that. My dear friend you KNOW that you and anyone else who has not sinned against the Holy Ghost may have all blessing restored unto them if they will but come unto him and not look back. I bless you for you spirit and am honored to have the opportunity to converse with you here. Keep on trudging my brother."
posted at 22:39:59 on July 27, 2013 by tokala
Absolutely!    
"Well said Harvey... Grace IS the central theme of recovery. When we understand this, we can truly trust God, we can petition for help, we can have the faith and courage to change and to know that we have a compassionate and loving God to help us along the way. We don't have to hide in the shadows any more. Beginning to understand the mercy and grace of God was a turning point for me as well."
posted at 00:22:06 on July 29, 2013 by Adam_1


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"Brothers and sisters, stay on the straight and narrow path. No, stay in the middle of the straight and narrow path. Don't drift; don't wander; don't dabble; be careful. Remember, do not flirt with evil. Stay out of the devil's territory. Do not give Satan any home-field advantage. Living the commandments will bring you the happiness that too many look for in other places. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006