I received an email this week from a new friend. He explained a little of the struggles he has been facing and my heart broke for him and his family. As I read the doctrine in Jacob 3 and 4 this week, this man’s story came to mind. Although our sins may be different, the source for comfort, feeling and forgiveness is the same. I love this promise, “ BUT behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions , and he will plead your cause…O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm , forever”(Jacob 3:1,2).
Although sin has brought pain and misery to my friend, it is wonderful that Jesus Christ offers forgiveness, peace and hope as he has turned to the Savior. This is his story::
My trial, unfortunately, is largely if not mostly of my own doing. I wanted to let you know that even if our trials come because of sin, as we turn toward the Lord in true repentance He will still consecrate our trials and performance for our gain and our welfare. I know this because I have felt His love and His strength lifting and guiding me each day, and discovering my relationship with my Savior through this trial has certainly been a gain for me.
I am recently divorced because of dishonesty and deceit that I brought into my marriage of 15 years to a wonderful woman. I have been struggling for most of my life with an addiction to pornography that has taken me into dark places that I am trying to forget. Because of pride and fear I lied and deceived instead of letting my help-meet be what an eternal companion was intended to be, a companion. I hurt her deeply and my consequences have been a divorce that at times has left me feeling like my heart will just stop because of the pain. I have four young children who need their daddy to be whole and worthy of the Priesthood. My only hope and comfort through this time has been the growing knowledge that my Father in Heaven knows me personally and that He loves me despite my sins. I know that he gave my wife the courage she needed to walk away from this marriage so that I could find the Lord in a way that would make a difference in my life. I can truly say that I have been humbled by my sins and humbled by the scope and magnitude of the Saviors divine Atonement. I have finally been able to be free of my addiction for six months now. This may not seem like much success to some, but it has brought me joy, hope, and peace that I had never known before. I know what it feels like to be able to repent of smaller sins each week and take the Sacrament worthily. Tomorrow I will go to the Temple worthily for the first time in my life! The Savior has shown me what is truly important in life...a close relationship with Him despite everything else.
I know that my struggles are not over. I still feel such loss and pain every day. However, I will now more fully consecrate my actions to the Lord with more faith that He will create a future for me that is better than what I could create on my own. I have faith and hope that He will support me in my trials as I turn to Him. I know that the Atonement is for everyone. Even the vilest of sinners!”