This entry is based on an entry in the Ensign (October 2009) by a sister called Jennifer Nucklos.
In this troublesome world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spreading to every corner of the globe. More and more are accepting the invitation to come unto Christ by receiving this Gospel through the principles and ordinances that he taught. We are really becoming the “stone…cut without hands,” (Daniel 2:34) in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Therefore, Satan is continuing his work with lies that he has crafted over millennia of deception and misery. In particular, he aims to lower our opinion of ourselves. As he achieves this – the afflicted person will lower their potential by these destructive thoughts and even find themselves lost, with the tragic view that they are not worth the trouble. These lies are mainly fuelled by our own thoughts and misinterpretation of scripture. Here are some examples:
Lie: Because of my weakness and failings, God is continually disappointed on, frustrated with, and even angry with me.
Truth: God loves me and rejoices in me because I am His child.
We all have weaknesses. Christ himself said “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble…” (Ether 12:27) so we actually have weaknesses and failings for a reason, and the Lord has allowed it. However, some misunderstand why we have these weaknesses and let these thoughts drag them down, which sometimes lead to further imperfections and therefore causing the person to lose the faith needed in Christ to overcome their trials. God’s love is perfect and “we are the children of God,” (Romans 8:16) so He will always deeply love us – even if we turn our back on Him. So, we can take comfort in the fact that He loves us and, through Christ’s Atonement, He can “make weak things become strong.” (Ether 12:27)
Lie: I’m not as righteous, spiritual, attractive, or kind as that other person; therefore God must love that person more than He loves me.
Truth: God knows my individual potential and progress intimately. He does not compare or rank me with His other children.
People may do this, because someone is ‘better’ than us they will like them better. However, God is not like us in this way. “God is no respector of persons,” (Acts 10:34) and so He loves one person just as much as the other. Elder Jeffrey R Holland said “He does not mercilessly measure [His children] against their neighbours. He doesn’t even compare them with each other. His gestures of compassion toward one do not require a withdrawal or denial of love for the other…” Just imagine your unconditional love for a parent, child or spouse, then multiply immeasurably – that is how much God loves each and every one of us.
Lie: I need to prove that I’m worth loving by being perfect. Only when I’m perfect will I be able to experience love from God and others.
Truth: Even though, I’m not perfect now, I can have constant access to divine love.
Whilst I do not think we consciously think that we need to be perfect to earn God’s love, I do think we place restrictions on ourselves because we are not good enough – thus really believing we do need to be perfect for God’s love and blessings. Sister Bonnie D Parkin said “Do we frequently reject the Lord’s love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love? When we allow ourselves to feel “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love,” (2 Nephi 1:15) … we realise that we don’t need to be immediately perfect.” If God only showed love to those who were perfect…there wouldn’t be a lot of love given, only to Christ! Those who strive to live God’s commandments do receive blessings as a result from keeping those eternal laws – but the love and desire that God has for us to return to Him is always there for every child of His.
Lie: I’m a terrible failure. I’ll never be good enough because I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Truth: I’m not perfect, but the desires of my heart are good. I can feel inspired to progress.
Godly sorrow is something we need to repent, it is a good thing. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10) . However, there are some who unfortunately feel this sorrow to a detrimental level. They feel upset and unworthy because of their imperfections, leading them to think they’ll never be good enough. I’m sure many have felt this or feel this on a regular basis. However, as we partake in the sacrament, renew our commitment to the Lord on an even more regular basis then we can progress. It may take a lifetime (in fact, it will) but as we rely on Christ and do what we can to be better, then we will get there, no matter how many times we fall.
Lie: I have too many issues, hang-ups, and past mistakes to be blessed and happy.
Truth: No mistakes, no personal challenge, no past circumstance is outside of the healing and redemptive power of the Atonement.
If we believe in Christ, then we need to believe His words if we are to overcome this lie. President Boyd K Packer taught “…save for those few who defect to perdition…there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness…Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.” Through Christ, all sin can be overcome – we can be mended and modified through the eternal, universal, redemptive power of the sacred Atonement. Alma the Younger felt it and said “there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” (Alma 36:21)
As we learn and understand these eternal truths, we can accept that we are imperfect – that even if we serve God “with all [our] whole souls…[we] would be unprofitable servants,” (Mosiah 2:21). Yet, we can still have God’s loving arms wrapped around us, for He loves His children, each and every one of us.