The Atonement is the Balm of Gilead for our souls, and to apply the Balm of the Atonement to our souls we have to bare our wounds to our savior, and let him apply his atonement to us. When we do this, we not only open the doors to repentance, but we begin the process of repentance, or the process of changing our hearts. Read on:
"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, then will I make weak things strong unto them." Ether 12:27
What I've learned from years of pondering, prayer, study and experience:
As I've said before, it is my belief that the reason we sin is because we are trying to cover up feelings we don't want to feel. This isn't applicable only to addicts, this is applicable to all of us. When we act sinfully we are trying to hide our unwanted feelings with stronger, more pleasurable feelings. At first we don't realize what we are doing, but some introspection gives us clarity, and we see patterns emerge. It isn't apparent at first, but when you see it, you really see it.
So, here are the steps of repentance, as laid out in this verse:
1. Come unto Christ
When we find ourselves in temptation, and I really think that's what this verse is talking about, we have a choice to make: 1. white knuckle it and force yourself to be righteous. 2. Sin 3. come unto Christ in your weakness, that he may show unto you your weakness. Your weakness isn't just your propensity to sin; your weakness is those feelings you are trying so hard to not feel, those things that are SO hard on you that you would rather push them down to the depths of your soul than ever feel them again.
2: Humble yourself before Christ
Once you've turned to Christ, and he has shown you your weakness, you, once again have a choice. 1. Push the feelings down again and white knuckle it til you can't take it anymore 2. push the feelings down and give in to temptation 3. Accept the emotions you are feeling, open yourself up to them, and let Christ apply the balm of the Atonement to your soul.
Remember, his grace is sufficient, not just for the whole of the human race, but FOR YOU! This takes faith, gratitude, fortitude, patience, and a few stumbles as you learn to walk on your own. Don't get down when you stumble, get back up, and start the process over, you have a head start this time.
3. Become strong again
Now that you've come this far, it is time to strengthen yourself in Christ. To strengthen yourself in Christ, you must continue too lay your emotions bare, and allow yourself to heal. No more closing up, and letting your wounds fester. Just as a flesh wound (it's just a flesh wound) has to heal over time, grow, and become strong again, so does your soul. This isn't Arnie strength, but healthy strength. Your tissue becomes healthy, closes up, and becomes smooth again. It is clean, and healthy underneath a layer of skin that protects it from it's previous infector. Your soul is the same. Once you let those wounds heal, and you have sufficiently rehabbed your spiritual tissue you find that it is much harder for Satan to infect you again.
4. Perform Maintenance:
When we are wounded again (and we will be) are we going to cover our pain with booze, drugs, pornography, sex, food, and anger? Or are we going to tend the wound, apply the atonement, and let it heal before Satan has the chance to get in there and destroy us from the inside again? Please, no, perform the maintenance, and continue to let Christ in so you can be happy and free of sin.