Saturday, August 29, 2015

Is It Ever Too late?

As many people do, I went through a time where I fell away from God. I did not fall in a sense of turning against the church and my beliefs and actively fighting. But I 
fell in the sense of not following the commandments as I should. I fell into sin and addiction. I allowed myself to slack off from my daily scripture study and personal prayer, to the point where it was rare if I ever looked at the scriptures or even said a prayer. After many months. I felt the darkness. I didn't see it at first. But when I realized how far I had gone.... once I realized what I had done... I asked.... "Is it too late?" "Have I fallen too far?"

As a missionary I taught people about the mercy of God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I read the scriptures with them, testified to them of God's love. I loved them and assured them that if they repented, that they could overcome their sins and be able to change for the better. Now, I know how they felt.... dark, alone, unsure, afraid, guilty. These are the feeling we feel, not only because of sin, but because of other trials that we may go through. We can see these things in the lives of other and ask.... "Is it too late?" "Am too far gone?" "Can I ever be happy again?"

When we go through these times, we feel as Alma did. "... racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins." (Alma 36:12)

As a young missionary, struggling with the scars of past transgression, I turned to the scriptures. I began to religiously study the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I began to study everything I could about how I could apply the Atonement to myself. I listened to talks explaining the Plan of Mercy that God himself created for us. I learned for myself that it is through Grace that we are saved.

These are just a few of the scriptures that I myself find comforting. 

 "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (D&C 121:7-8)

"Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." (2 Nephi 26:25)

"And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also." (Alma 42:15)

"Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."(D&C 43:3-5)

 "O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" (3 Nephi 9:13)

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)

"And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.
 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive."(Alma 7:22-23)

"O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe."
"Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust."(2 Nephi 1:13,23)

The trials we go through leave scars. My friend recently told me, the scars are not there to haunt us, they are not there to punish us, but they are there to remind us that all wounds can be healed. We are wounded and are in need of a physician. Christ tells us that wemust return to Him and repent... so that He can heal us. Thats all He asks. He has bleed for you. He died for you. He pleads to the Father for you. And all He asks in return is for us to do our best, and come back to Him.

I know that through Jesus Christ, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE! No matter how far we fall, no matter what we do. He is waiting for us to come back. He will help us climb out of the pit and return to where we need to be. He will heal the wounds and mend the scars. He will help us feel joy and relief.

"The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122:8)

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