Is It Grace Or Worthiness? Understanding The Atonement

Is It Grace Or Worthiness? Understanding The Atonement

I’ve been talking with a friend recently who has been struggling to overcome an addiction. Over our conversations, I noticed a trend in how he perceived the way Heavenly Father works with us in these situations. I feel like this idea is a lot more common than I had realized, and applies in so many different ways to every one of us. I myself have thought and felt the same way on separate occasions. We described it differently, but both of our thoughts boiled down to the same thing.

In my circumstance I was feeling alone, and missed feeling Heavenly Father’s love at that time. I described it like being trapped in a deep hole, a pit. And up at the top was Christ, reaching his hand in. Problem is, to reach His hand, I had to climb higher than I thought I was able. I was desperately trying to scramble up the wall of the pit but never making it quite far enough to get help. I felt like all the help that was provided to me to get out was waiting for me at the top. Essentially I felt like I was being told, “I’ll help you get out once you’re out”.

My friend described it similarly. He needed help in his trials, but he knew that to receive the spirit you need to be worthy. To get help from the Atonement you need to repent and have faith. But when you have tried time and time again to overcome a sin, it’s easy to see that your attempts at repentance seem fruitless, making you think you can’t qualify for the grace of the Atonement. He was feeling the same way I was. His phrase was “once you’re worthy, then you’ll get the strength/faith to be worthy”

And on the surface that all makes perfect sense. We are told so often as Latter-day Saints the importance of worthiness and how that applies to receiving the spirit. But I think Satan has skewed the truth behind it and has tried to make us blind to what’s really happening. Because I thought long and hard about how I could feel so wrong about what I considered being a complete truth. That idea contradicts the one truth I know without a doubt and has become a sole point in my faith; God is love. How can a God of love leave us when we’re down and lost? Well, he hasn’t, go figure.

 

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Jeremy Goff was born in Denver and raised in Orem, Utah. He served a mission in the Manchester New Hampshire Mission (’12-’14). He is passionate about many things: he blogs, loves food, family, politics, and religion. He travels for work and loves to visit temples and share the gospel along the way! Follow Jeremy’s journey on his blog www.mylifebygogogoff.com

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