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Honesty, Separating the Good from the Bad
By paul
9/9/2010 3:07:30 PM
2 Nephi 4:17 — Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

2 Nephi 4:18 — I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

2 Nephi 4:19 — And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

Some may regard the quality of character known as honesty to be a most ordinary subject. But I believe it to be the very essence of the gospel. Without honesty, our lives and the fabric of our society will disintegrate into ugliness and chaos.
- President Hinckley

I keep moving back and forth between steps 1 and 4. The more I try to fill out and maintain a personal inventory the more I find it to be difficult to be honest with myself.

As I try to list and categorize the "temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me" I find that honesty is hard to maintain. Its hard to admit to myself that so many small things have gone on for so long, that they now feel like mountains burying me alive. The larger boulders are also there, weighing me down, making it difficult to take even the first steps toward complete honesty with myself or anyone else.

The same is also true when I try to list the positive things in my life. There is so much good in my accomplishments, my family, my home, etc. And yet, when I see them in the light which is being dimmed and weakened by the list of my negatives I have a hard time recognizing them as anything more than lucky happenings in a life of bad decisions. Despite all I have accomplished and all the Lord has blessed me with, I do not feel like a good person.

I need to be more honest in both respects. The good in my life has come because of some honest effort and hard work. The bad in my life should not be able to erase that so completely as to make everything seem stained and tainted. I need to recognize that the mistakes I've been making throughout life do not define me. They are weaknesses to be sure, but weaknesses I am desperately trying to overcome and move past.

Nephi obviously felt something similar to what I am trying to describe. I only wish I could have felt like this before committing so many serious mistakes. Nephi was able to trust in the Lord despite occasionally feeling like a "wretched man". I expect that Nephi and I are on completely different levels of wretchedness (me being far worse off), and I hope I can maintain the trust he had in our Saviour.

Editor's Note: I apologize for sounding so depressed in this. I just needed to get some thoughts out of the way.

Comments:

Turn the corner!    
"I heard an analogy once that really helped me. I'm a wife, not an addict. But we come with our own set of challenges. All of our natural reactions are wrong too. We have to learn a different way of life and change all our habits too.

When we make that great change and turn our lives over to God and have complete trust in the Atonement, we've turned a corner. What do you see when you turn a corner? It's not everywhere you've ever been, it's just to the corner. Place your trust and your past in God's capable hands. Do everything you can to do everything you know you should do and turn the corner. Your shoulders aren't big enough, but His are!

Remember as you're making your list of people to ask forgiveness from, include yourself, then do it."
posted at 16:04:12 on September 9, 2010 by SEEINGLIGHT
Nephi and you    
"It was either Hugh Nibley or Dr. Henry Eyring (pretty sure it was Nibley) that pointed out in affect; ten miles is no closer to infinity then a thousand. I'll have to find the direct quote to give it some context cause its awesome. But the point is we all need the Savoir and with Him there is no difference between you and Nephi...hard to believe. Maybe that concept can help you "glory in your weakness" while your forced to stare it in the face (step 4). Good luck"
posted at 16:10:08 on September 9, 2010 by They Speak
Turning Corners    
"Thank you SeeingLight,

I like that corner analogy, and I appreciate your advice and insights here and in the other threads you've posted in.

Its strange how you can understand that once you've truly repented of something, you don't have to return to it. It can be left to the Savior, allowing you to have your life back and find joy in that life. And even though we understand that concept, it is sometimes so hard to do. Forgiving yourself is often easier said than done. I'm going to keep those corners in mind though. Thank you.

They Speak,

I appreciate your comments too. Sin is sin, and in the end it all has to be turned over to the Christ. Big or small, few or many, we have to give them to Him either way."
posted at 16:39:36 on September 9, 2010 by paul
Hey, I missed that!    
"Dear Paul, last night at our AR meeting we read from Step 5- Confession. I realized that the 1st time that I meet with a trusted friend and talked about the "E X A C T" nature of my sins/character flaws, shortcomings, that I needed to do it again. Not that I had intentionally avoided or tried to hide the EXACT nature of my wrongs, BUT my maturation in the AR program has become more honest and true.

It's like reading the Book of Mormon. Every time I read it (I have read it more then 20 times) I always discover new truth and light. Same thing with this AR program. I am hooked on it. What a healthy addiction, wanting more and more of the Lord's Spirit to be with me constantly. And when I neglect my personal prayers, my covenants love and serve Him, then I start to feel those "Withdrawal symptoms". What a sad day when people loose the Spirit and don't even know it. You are in my prayers and my prayer for you is that you become Strong in Recovery and become a valiant son, wielding the sword of truth."
posted at 20:49:31 on September 9, 2010 by migail3


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"Brothers and sisters, let's sell that summer cottage in Babylon. Let us be not "almost" but "altogether" Latter-day Saints. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006