Andrew C. Skinner, noted theologian and history, said:
A broken heart and a contrite spirit are a perfect likeness or similitude of Jesus’ atoning experience, and He undoubtedly wants us to comprehend the nature of that atoning experience. The word contrite comes directly from a Latin root meaning “to grind.” To be contrite is to be crushed in spirit. (Andrew Skinner, Prophets, Priests and Kings, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book 2005 13)
Indeed, when one has committed a sin then the repentance process begins, and only begins, when one recognizes that action as sin.
Having been one who has not lived a perfect life, I recall specific times when I have undergone the recognition of a broken heart and contrite spirit as the consequence of my actions. Indeed, the burden which weighs upon a broken and battered heart is great, although nothing in comparison to what the Savior suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane that night.
At this particular time in life recognize that Satan will do all he can to keep you burdened with your sins. He will whisper in your ear:
“You aren’t worthy. You’re a loser. You’ve lost the love of the Father. There is no turning back. There is no hope.”
These are lies, lies, lies!
President Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th called prophet is these modern times, admonishes us to remember:
One of Satan’s most frequently used deceptions is the notion that the commandments of God are meant to restrict freedom and limit happiness. Young people especially sometimes feel that the standards of the Lord are like fences and chains, blocking them from those activities that seem most enjoyable in life. But exactly the opposite is true. The gospel plan is the plan by which men are brought to a fulness of joy. This is the first concept I wish to stress: The gospel principles are the steps and guidelines that will help us find true happiness and joy. (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct 1989, 2)
President Benson speaks of every aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for indeed, following in His path does allow for everlasting joy.
What does the world have to offer?
Drugs? Drugs trigger addiction which trigger crime which trigger the utter destruction of your physical health and the loss of freedom. It is a vicious cycle which does not end until you, the abuser, suffer great pain and agony from withdrawals. You then fight that craving for the rest of your life.
What is the Lord’s solution? Stay away from drugs in the first place and you never enter this downward, spinning out of control, cycle which ends in certain death.
Alcohol? Alcohol follows the exact same path as drugs. Coming from a home where my biological father was an alcoholic, I have the beauty of damaged genes due to his excesses. Eventually he left his wife and children so that he could devote his life fully to women and booze without the restrictions of family. He died alone in his apartment with two young men frantically trying to revive him. It didn’t work. The alcohol he turned to in his youth cost him everything, including his mortality and his eternities, because he could not walk away from it.
Again, what is the Lord’s solution? Don’t drink alcohol and strong spirits . . . that way lies only madness.
All that the world has to offer in the way of excess leads the partaker down this destructive and potentially deadly path.
But there is a way to return to our Savior, even Jesus Christ, who committed the greatest act of love ever known to this earth. He has paid for that addiction. He has paid for that pain. He has paid for that loss of self-respect, self-control and a hopeless future. All that is required of you? A broken heart and contrite spirit.
Indeed, as one is going through the repentance process it can be one filled with great emotional and spiritual pain, and certainly physically painful depending on the sin. But know this, in fact, burn it into your memory:
You are loved. The gospel plan of salvation is the plan of happiness. Freed from addiction, pain and sorrow of sin you will be astounded at how you can begin to soar above the mundane and filth filled streets of what the world has to offer.
Stop and consider this for a moment. The amount of love which must exist in the heart of our Father in Heaven must be beyond comprehension that He stepped back and allowed the Atonement to continue and the Crucifixion to go forward. His only begotten Son in the Flesh was pleading with Him to remove the cup, and it could not be done without costing every single one of us our immortality and eternal salvation.
Imagine, if you can, a small portion of the amount of love your Father in Heaven has for you that He allowed this to move forward. And then stop and consider the incomprehensible level of love Jesus Christ feels for you that He willingly suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane that night, even bleeding from every pore the pain was so great that it caused even God to tremble. Even more, consider as He underwent the sham of a trial, the whippings, the mocking, the torture to finally be cruelly nailed to a cross on Calvary, the nails tearing through His flesh, and remaining in that excruciating agony until every last sin, sorrow, grief, illness . . . all that brings us pain, addiction and sorrow, was paid for, every last iota . . . and then He gave up the ghost. (Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27) How deep was the love Jesus Christ had for you that He willing suffered through all of that . . . deeper than you can ever imagine or know.
Is it too late for you? No.
Are you worthy? Yes.
Is there hope for you? Yes.
Does Satan have you firmly in his grasp? No.
All you have to do is reach out to Jesus Christ and offer a broken heart and contrite spirit. Is that so much to ask? No, it isn’t. You simply follow in His footsteps, walking the path He walked, living your life as He lived His and realize you are free from the bondages of pain, sin, sorrow and grief . . . there is so much hope awaiting you and all you have to do is take that first step.
Fall on your knees, and from deep within the recesses of your broken and torn heart, beg for forgiveness. Continue to plead until peace overcomes your body and then reach for the scriptures and find the answers and peace that await you. Then it’s time to go back to church. You can find a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel at going to the Worship With Us section of www.mormon.org. Then you simply ask anyone you run into to direct you to the missionaries. They’ll take it from there. Or you can simply call 888-537-7700.
Either way, you have turned a corner to a brighter and more peaceful life.