Tag Archives: Atonement

What About the Debt Justice Owes to Us?

We can be healed by Christ. This includes our debt to justice, and justice's debt to us.The Atonement is the means by which both mercy and justice can be simultaneously satisfied. The Savior has paid our debt to justice (caused by our sins and transgressions in this life) in full through His suffering in the garden and on the cross. By paying our debt He extends us mercy. We no longer need pay that debt. He has paid it for us.

In order to receive the Lord’s mercy for the debt we owe to justice, we must become willing to accept His payment of our debt. We demonstrate our willingness by humble repentance. In 12 Step terms, as we work Steps 4 – 10, we unlock the power of the Atonement and apply it to our weakness, sin and shortcomings. We repent and do our best to obey the commandments going forward, and He pays our debt.

But what about the debt justice owes to us?

What about the things that have happened or been done to us, which were not caused by any sin or transgression on our part? For example, what if we have been abused, or suffer from physical, mental or emotional illness? Do we get compensated for those things?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson clearly answers this question in his April 2013 conference talk, “Redemption.”

“The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure. ‘For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam’ (2 Nephi 9:21; see also Alma 7:11–12).” (emphasis added)

Have you suffered pain that was not a consequence of your own choices? Then justice owes you a debt, and the Lord has paid it. Indeed, He paid it before you were born. He knew what you would experience, and He paid the price for your pain and suffering.

What must we do to receive the healing and compensation Elder Christofferson promises us for any suffering we innocently endure? We have to let go of the resentment, anger, hate and fear we feel towards those who have hurt us, and towards the Lord for allowing those things to happen to us. (See Learning to Let Go, or click on “Letting Go” in the tag cloud to find suggestions for how to do this.) Holding onto negative feelings is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. When we let go and choose to begin learning to trust the Lord again, we make it possible for Him to heal us. It takes time and we need His help to do it. Letting go and learning to trust again make it possible for Him to turn our suffering into jewels of testimony, faith, peace, serenity and love.

  • What more do you need to do to pay your debt to justice so you can have the Lord’s mercy applied to your sins and shortcomings?
  • Does justice owe you for innocent suffering? What can you do today to let go of resentment, anger, hate and fear and learn to trust the Lord so you can receive the compensation promised you?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts:  Learning to Let GoHow to Become Entirely Ready for God to Remove Your Shortcomings

Agency – the Heart of Step 3

“Step 3: Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”


It is about Grace.Steps 1 and 2 are about gaining new understanding  (1 – that I am powerless and 2 – that God can restore me) and being willing to integrate that understanding into my belief system. In Step 3 I make a decision to allow God to restore me and to allow Him give me the power to do what I have been unable to do for myself; the power to be healed from my addiction, from my shortcomings, and from my afflictions.

Allow God to do something? Really? Am I in a position to determine whether God can do anything or not? God is omnipotent! Of course He is. But, if I hold so tightly to my own puny power and will that I cannot open my heart to receive His gifts then there is nothing He can do.  Why? Because above all else, God respects my agency, the greatest gift he has given me. Agency is the principle over which the war in Heaven was fought. Agency is the essential element of the Plan of Salvation. There is no need for the Fall or the Atonement (primary elements of the Plan of Salvation) unless we have agency. The point of the Fall is to put me in a position to learn to use my agency to walk in faith and obedience, and become like the Savior.  The point of the Atonement is to provide power for me to overcome my weaknesses and shortcomings on my journey and to pay the demands of justice so that I can return to Heavenly Father’s presence even though I will never achieve perfection on this earth. At the heart of the whole plan is Agency.

Working a 12-Step program is not really about the steps, willpower, sponsors or meetings. It is about grace. It is about understanding that God’s grace is a free gift to all of his children, not made conditional on worthiness or anything else.  When we open our hearts to receive His grace, to receive the power He atoned and died to provide for us, we use our agency to pick up the one thing we need to recover from addiction, overcome grief, or be healed from trauma.

  • Write about your decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Are you willing to receive both the enabling and redeeming powers of the Atonement to help you on your journey of recovery? (See Elder Bednar’s 2012 conference talk:  The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality)
  • What will you do today to use your agency to make progress?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Steps 1, 2, and 3: I Can’t, He Can, I’ll Let HimLearning to Let Go


Forgiveness: Left on the Cutting Room Floor

Image of old clips of film laying on the floor. Jeremiah 31:34

“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Even though I work my program and share the hope and the good news that through the power of the Atonement we can receive all that we need from the Lord to be cleansed and draw near to Him, I sometimes find myself dwelling on my shortcomings rather than my progress. It seems especially difficult to let go of past mistakes and forgive myself despite having a sure testimony that the Lord has forgiven me.

So what are the implications of the Lord’s promise in Jeremiah 31:34 that He “will remember their sin no more”?

I imagine myself standing at the judgment bar with the Lord standing by my side as my Advocate.  The movie of my life is playing.  Scene after scene plays out on the screen.  Some scenes surprise me – I had forgotten all about those things.  Sometimes I know what is coming next, and the thought of having to watch it in front of everyone makes me cringe.  Wait! What? We jumped right over that scene! Hooray!

What happened? That scene was left on the cutting room floor. Why? Because once I had repented and the Lord had forgiven me, he “remembers it no more”. That is forgiveness! If he doesn’t remember it, it cannot be a part of the movie of my life! My movie has been edited and all the bad parts for which I have repented – all the parts that fill me with shame and guilt – have been removed.  I may remember them, in order to protect myself from making the same mistakes again, but the Lord has forgiven and forgotten.

Divine forgiveness – good news indeed!

  • What part of your life do you hope will be a scene left on the cutting room floor?
  • Have you done all you can to fully repent of it?  What do you still need to do?
  • You may remember, to keep yourself from making the same mistake again, but have you forgiven yourself?
  • What will you do today to forgive yourself and move on?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.


ARP Meetings – Where Two or Three Are Gathered…

I recently read D&C 6, and verses 32-37 absolutely jumped off the page at me as pertaining to the Church’s ARP meetings. I “captured” the impressions I received below.

32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.

We gather as 2 or 3 or 12 or 20 in His name at every Addiction Recovery Program meeting, as touching one thing: recovery from addiction through the Atonement. And He is always in our midst. The Spirit we feel in our meetings is similar to what I feel in the Temple.

33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

As we each take whatever tiny steps we can toward recovery, we are sowing good, and have hope in Christ of reaping good: recovery!

34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

We need not fear Satan nor those who are listening to his voice. We are built upon the rock of Christ and His Atonement. Satan will not win.

35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

He accepts us where we are. He holds no grudge. He is willing to wipe our slate clean if we repent and go forward with abstinence and sobriety, walking the path He has laid before us.

36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Keeping our focus on the Savior we have no need for doubt or fear. Like Peter walking on the water, we will be safe if we focus on the Savior in each moment.

37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Focus on Christ, remembering the Atonement He has made for us.  Deliverance from sin may be ours as we receive the cleansing and other blessings of the Atonement through repentance. We will one day surely return to live with Him in joy.

Come to an ARP meeting and see how truly this applies. If you are trying to overcome a challenge in your life, come gather with us and let the Lord give you the strength that comes from learning to apply the Atonement in your life.