anguishI often have individuals sitting on my office couch who have come to believe that there is no hope for them, they have done too much. Too much addiction, too many sins, too many broken commandments. They have, perhaps, tried many many times to turn things around, but never successfully. But their life has caught up with them, they have been caught, the problems have come out into the open or they have just grown sick and tired of being sick and tired.

They know despair. That dark empty place where hope can not survive. They have been overtaken by their own shame. They have come to believe there is something fundamentally wrong with them. They are defective in some way. They have moved to a place near hell where they believe they are beyond redemption. “I have just done too much.”

They often still believe in Christ, hold a testimony of the gospel, but somehow exclude themselves from the Atonements healing power. “I just can’t come back.”

I sometimes point out that perhaps we should allow the Savior to pronounce judgement. That really is His job, not ours. Our own self-judgement would condemn us long before the Savior. We forget our humanness. He does not. We lose compassion and empathy for ourselves. He does not.  Let us not diminish the amazing power of the the Atonement to heal and change us.  Is there anything too much for the Lord?  I think not!

Many have been more preoccupied with the appearance of righteous living than they have been with the doing of righteous living. That leads to the double life we see so often, someone who is held in high regard by many, struggling with ugliness in their spiritual lives that they have tried to keep hidden from the view of others. When it all collapses the weight of it feels unbearable. Despair is brought on quite quickly when our shame is revealed.

Please let me raise my witness. When I say I am a person of recovery, I am using a nice way of saying I am a recovering addict. Lost for many years in my secret life. Working very hard at destroying my own soul. But even with all of that, when I came to myself, (which I believe came about because of His loving care for me,) I found Him standing there. Standing ready, with a beckoning, outstretched hand for me. For me, that had done so much.

He knew my name, and He knows yours. He was completely aware of my situation and my struggle, and He knows yours. As Elder Holland says He was “anxiously awaiting” my reaching out to Him, and He awaits for you.

He is there, much closer than you think. He is real. And His atoning gift is available to you. He has done it for me. I know He will do it for you.

Blessings, roger.