Monthly Archives: November 2016

Weakness, Shortcoming or Defect?

Perfection through WeaknessI recently heard this in an ARP meeting: if we are creations of God, an omnipotent and perfect Being, then we cannot be defective. That would seem to be an obvious truth. But neither are we perfect. We know this is true also. We have been given weakness by God.

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)

How? How do weak things become strong unto us? We must learn to come unto Christ, humbly allow Him to show forth His power in our lives, and become like Him. Paul describes it this way:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Perfection through Weakness

We have shortcomings. Christ has asked us to become perfect (see Matthew 5:48). What does He mean by that, if He, Himself, has given unto us weakness? According to Russell M. Nelson, in this scripture, “the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.” (“Pending Perfection,” October 1995 conference.) Elder Nelson goes on to describe in detail how this term is used and what kind of perfection (or “completeness”) we can and should seek in this mortal life. I recommend reading the entire talk.

How should we go about seeking perfection? Most of us cringe when we see our weaknesses and shortcomings. Sometimes we try to hide them from ourselves and those around us. Other times we beat ourselves up for our lack of perfection, and allow Satan to convince us that somehow we are too broken, too imperfect. That we truly are defective and that there is no hope for us.

We need to put those thoughts and voices behind us and turn to Christ, seeking His omnipotent strength and love, and allow His power to rest upon us, as Paul says.

We finally abandoned the idea that we could become perfect by ourselves, and we accepted the truth that God desires us to conquer our weaknesses in this life by coming to Christ and being perfected in Him. (A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, p.41)

You may not yet be perfect, but you are not defective. You are a beloved son or daughter of God, created by Him and given the full potential to become like Him. Regardless of what your life looks like now or was like in the past, as you turn to Christ in your weakness, and take His yoke upon you, His strength and power will rest upon you and you will become like Him. It will take time. Be patient and diligent. Walk in faith. It will happen.

I testify that this is true.

  • Are you willing to acknowledge your weakness and recognize that you, including your weaknesses, were created by God?
  • Write about your weakness and your willingness to be perfected in Him.
  • What can you do today to demonstrate your willingness?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: On Being a Perfect RosebudPaul’s Thorn – Weakness is Not Always Removed by FaithTrust: Take My Yoke Upon You


Making Amends – Wait for Step 9

Step 9: Making AmendsWhen we find the humility to let go of pride and see ourselves, our relationships and our past actions as objectively as possible, many of us want to reach out to those we have hurt, make amends and repair those relationships immediately. We want to wipe the slate clean and start living a new life characterized by the new heart which we have received from the Lord as a result of working Steps 1-8. Sometimes, this desire comes to us before we have finished Step 8.

Don’t jump the gun! As it says on page 47 of A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, “We learned, however, that impulsively rushing to make amends without taking time for prayer and perhaps counsel from a trusted adviser … could be as detrimental as not making amends.” In Step 8 we think through and make a plan for our amends. We discuss the plan with a sponsor, bishop, counselor or another trusted adviser to make sure that we do no further damage in our efforts to repair our relationships. As it says in the guide on page 53, “This part of recovery must never lead to the further harm of others.”

In order to work Step 8 successfully we need to complete Steps 6 and 7 to let go of our shortcomings and allow the Lord to heal us. Our loved ones will be more willing to receive our amends if they have seen a change in our behavior and character. In order to have a list of shortcomings to turn over to the Lord in Steps 6 and 7 we need to have done Steps 4 and 5. And in order to be able to complete a thorough written moral inventory we need to be able to trust the Lord to carry us through this hard work. Steps 1-3 help us learn to have that level of trust.

In other words, the steps are in order for a reason. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Of course, if you have already completed Steps 1-9, and are working the “maintenance steps” (Steps 10-12) please make amends, if appropriate as soon as you realize you have caused harm!

Start by Writing Letters

After you have read all of the Step 9 program literature and answered the questions, one approach for making amends is to write a letter to each person on your Step 8 list. You will decide later whether to actually deliver the letter. Regardless, the first thing to do is write it because:

  • You can get all of your thoughts and feelings expressed in a coherent form.
  • Your ability to do this will not be limited by time, interruptions or the other person’s body language.
  • If it doesn’t come out right the first time you can revise it until you are comfortable with it.
  • You can look for and remove any blame, guilt throwing, guilt catching, shaming, or justifying.

Once you have written the letters share them with your sponsor or someone else you trust, so that you can get feedback on whether they convey what you are trying to say without containing anything that might be hurtful or misinterpreted.

Another very important thing to pray about and discuss ahead of time is what you will do to actually make amends. An apology is important, but if you have harmed someone you need to try to reverse the damage if possible.


If the person you are making amends to is still a part of your life, and willing to meet with you, it is usually best to talk to them in person. This gives the best possible opportunity for healing to take place. Do not have any expectations from the other person. You cannot predict how they will respond. Turn this over to the Lord ahead of time. The purpose of this meeting is for you to apologize and make amends.

Find a mutually convenient time, when you are not in a hurry. Choose someplace to meet that will be relatively free of distractions and feel “safe” for both of you. Make eye contact during the conversation. Smile, if appropriate. You may choose to read your letter aloud, hand it to him or her to read themselves, or simply share the thoughts contained in it. Just be sure you don’t introduce any complicating issues, get sidetracked, say things in a blaming or accusatory way, or justify or excuse your behavior.

Direct Amends

A part of this meeting will be to tell the person what you intend to do to make amends. If you can correct or repair the harm you have done to this person, that would be your amends. Sometimes there is no way to directly repair the damage you have done. This is what Elder Neal A. Maxwell had to say about such situations.

 “Sometimes . . . restitution is not possible in real terms, such as when one contributed to another’s loss of faith or virtue. Instead, a subsequent example of righteousness provides a compensatory form of restitution” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31).

If you cannot meet in person, prayerfully consider whether to send the letter, and make amends directly or indirectly as appropriate. Again, discuss this with someone you trust.

Indirect Amends

Indirect amends should be made when direct amends are not possible or would create further harm. For example, if the person you harmed has worked hard to put the events behind them and move on, bringing it up again might traumatize them. The Guide explains several options for making indirect amends.

In other cases, you may have no way of making amends directly. The person may be dead, or you may not be able to discover where he or she lives. In such cases, you can still make amends indirectly. You can write the person a letter expressing your regret and desire for reconciliation, even if the letter cannot be delivered. You can give a gift to the person’s favorite charity. You can find someone who reminds you of that person and do something to help him or her. Or you may be able to do something to help a member of the family anonymously. (A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, p. 53)

Remember that the Lord has promised to give you the power to do the things that are “expedient unto Him” if you walk in faith (Moroni 7:33).

  1. Are you willing to work through Steps 1-8 so that you can have the best chance of healing your relationships by making amends in Step 9?
  2. What are you willing to do to make amends to those you have harmed?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Spiritual MetamorphosisFear: the Enemy of Progress and RecoveryWorking One Step at a Time