God's Love *

I have been thinking lately about what has helped me in my recovery from addiction, and there are many things that have helped, but what it comes down to is the Love of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. It is the love I have felt from them directly, but also their love as I have felt it through other people:
  • I have felt it through an amazing wife who decides every day to love and forgive me despite my weaknesses. 
  • I have felt it through loving bishops who, rather than judge me decide to support me, encourage me, and tell me of my Heavenly Fathers love and forgiveness. 
  • I have felt it through family members, neighbors, friends, members of my recovery group, and even complete strangers as they have let the light of Christ and his love shine through them. 
Through this process of recovery I have become keenly aware of the fact that God uses us, as imperfect and weak as we often are, to lift and bless the lives of those around us. I have also come to realize that everyone is struggling in one way or another. I now know many other people with addictions, I had no idea how many of us there are in the world.

I have become aware of several people in my neighborhood who struggle with mental disorders and depression, as well as physical limitations. But I also learned that there are so many who struggle with their testimonies and faith. Whatever we struggle with, we all have challenges in our lives, and all too often those challenges are not known to anyone but ourselves.

Ironically I have been very judgmental and unsympathetic most of my life. I saw mistakes that others made and just couldn't understand why they would do the things they did.

As I have become painfully aware of many of my own mistakes through the addiction recovery program. It has opened my eyes and helped me start to feel the Savior's love for those around me. I can remember a few times in my life when I have felt that way towards all those around me, it is the best feeling in the world. Instead of judging or getting angry at the things people do, I feel love and concern and I want to do whatever I can to help.

There is a family in my ward in which the father has to travel for extended periods of time for work, their three boys are not the most well-behaved children, and I have heard several people in the neighborhood complain about the influence they have on the other kids in the neighborhood.

In the past I would have to say that I agreed with them. But today at church as I passed their mom in the hall I saw the tiredness in her eyes, I saw a woman who was desperately trying to teach her children by bringing them to church each week all by herself, I saw her from our Saviors perspective. She is doing the best she knows how, and she needs our help, she needs the rest of us in the neighborhood to support her in her efforts and to help her teach her children.

I hope to get to the point that I see everyone with unconditional love and forgiveness all the time, and that I do all I can to lift and bless the lives of those around me, even if all they need is a smile or a kind word. I know I have been immensely blessed by the angels that live among us. I hope to be numbered among them one day.

* Guest post submitted by a trusted friend.

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