“God Loves Broken Things! Let me repeat myself, GOD LOVES BROKEN THINGS!”
These words were the first words spoken by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during a Stake Conference held on May 20, 2017. This article will reference quotes during this Stake Conference session and his April 2006 General Conference talk, “Broken Things to Mend.”
I feel powerfully moved to share this message because only a few hundred people were at this stake conference meeting. And it’s a message the whole world needs. Elder Holland is amazing. In his talk at stake conference he simultaneously hit us in the face with a hammer about our need to change, and lovingly held us and encouraged us.
No matter your faith, race, mental illnesses, addictions, weaknesses or trials, God loves you. This is not just wishful thinking. What I am writing is an absolute fact. God loves everyone, big or small, mean or kind, happy or sad. There is nothing you or anyone can do to make Him not love you.
“But I sometimes feel so broken. I’ve hurt people, people have hurt me, I’ve sinned, I’ve repented, but my heart is broken, my soul is broken. Will relief ever come? Please take this pain away? I don’t want to feel it.”- Elder Holland
I’ve said and felt these words throughout my life more than I can count. At one point in my life, I truly believed I had to live with shame and guilt for my mistakes. I even served a mission and preached about forgiveness, but somehow I still felt it didn’t apply to me. Negative thoughts would run through my mind, “How can our loving God love me? Me of all people.” At times I felt He didn’t love me. I knew He did, but I didn’t feel it.
Elder Holland bluntly said, “Here is the first problem in that thinking. Believing that you should go through life without experiencing pain is saying to ourselves, “I should not have to suffer. I should not have to experience heartache, betrayal, death of a loved one or child, depression, anxiety, mental illness, being single, being motherless, being childless, divorced, hated, and so much more.
The second problem is allowing the Adversary control and power over these beliefs. Any negative self talk or thoughts are coming from the Great Deceiver, the destroyer of happiness. We cannot allow such erroneous thinking to occur. We must be stronger than him and not give him power over our happiness. Believing that your Heavenly Father doesn’t love you, is a lie and it’s absurd.”
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe in the Plan of Salvation or the Great Plan of Happiness. We believe God created this world and gave us bodies to come to earth and experience life and have agency to choose for ourselves. We agreed in Heaven to come here and endure the hardships of life, to be challenged and tried. The Lord said,
“My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.” (Doctrine & Covenants 136:31)
We agreed to come to Earth and submit to His plan for us. That unique, individualized plan for just you and just me was a gift our Heavenly Father offered. But he did it with a promise, the most precious Gift, “17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
God knew we could not come to this earth without sinning. In order for us to be allowed back into His presence, a Savior had to be offered to atone and wipe away the sins of the world so that we may be clean before Him. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18.)
These next words spoken by Elder Holland immediately healed my heart, humbled me to tears, and the continuing process of having a broken heart and contrite spirit was opened to me and gave me greater understanding.
He powerfully stated without hesitation, “How dare you say in the midst of your trials and afflictions, God doesn’t love me. How can he love me, a sinner? How dare you say those words! Did God not love His perfect Son whom He gave to the world? Did He not love His Son as He watched Him bleed from every pore and suffer every pain, sin, illness, sickness, and joy this world will ever see? Did He not love His son when He was thorned, pierced, crucified and then died?”
He continued saying, “Heavenly Father loves you so much that not only did He give you these trials for you to learn to be patient, loving, kind, strong, merciful, and figure out how to do it with the Grace of God, He also gave you a way out. He gave you a Savior who already took upon Himself every single difficult experience, so that we don’t have to.
By proper repentance and through a broken heart and contrite spirit, we do not have to feel shame or guilt for our sins, for having depression, addictions, and everything else we suffer. We do not have to carry the weight of our trials alone. The price is already paid.”
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart …, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 9:19–20).
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”2 (Matthew 11:28-29)
Elder Holland concluded his message saying, “If you want forgiveness, true repentance, growth, and to truly show the Lord your desire for a change of heart, what are you willing to place on the altar of sacrifice? What are you willing to let go? Is your faith sufficient enough to trust in the path He has for you and allow Him to bless you?”
To all my fellow readers: Do not sit in your grief, pain or sins for another minute. Do not allow Satan the power to keep you from your happiness. If repentance is in order, please, go and repent. If you hurt someone, apologize, and do better next time. If your marriage is in turmoil, turn to the Lord and leaders of the church. If you suffer from mental illness, it’s ok, Seek help and give it to the Lord. For the repentant, let the hurt go.
You need not live in shame or guilt, hand it over to the Lord. In every trial, ask Him to carry it with you, and if not, ask Him to give you the strength and grace to endure it. Lay your sacrifice at the altar and trust in Him. Also remember, our trials are to help mold us into beings of patience, love, and compassion. But you cannot be molded until you are first softened. God loves you, Jesus Christ loves you, do not ever doubt these words. And as Elder Holland first said, “God Loves Broken Things.”
Mele Eldredge is a proud mom (and bonus mom) to five beautiful daughters and a wife to one CRAZY GOOD-looking husband. She is passionate about her children’s education and remains involved through volunteer opportunities in their schools and community. Mele has an extensive background in the legal world due to working as a paralegal for over 10 years. Apart from family and work, Mele’s passions are therapeutic healing, writing, and music. For the last four years, Mele has focused her learning skills on emotional healing and working towards becoming a mentor/life coach. She has discovered how empowering one can become with proper emotional self awareness/management. Mele is as honest as they come and tells it how it is. Being authentic is the only way to be for her. Courage comes from facing hard stuff, especially yourself and your weakness. "By truly facing and then accepting who and what we really are, we will finally begin to truly love ourselves."