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Mores

Natural Tendencies Toward Individual Sins

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I'm about to describe an interesting metaphor that I discovered from a recent experience over the weekend.  I'm fairly certain the @mikbone will find it amusing.

I've recently had a medical procedure.  It isn't serious.  But... the doctor gave me a very powerful painkiller during recovery.  They warned me that I should not take it until the pain gets really bad, because it is very powerful and can lead to addiction.  I was really wondering why they would give this warning to me because 1) I didn't expect there to be much pain given the procedure I had.  And 2) duh-uh, all painkillers have that tendency.  Well,  I found out soon enough that I would indeed need the painkiller.  It was a LOT worse than I had anticipated, due to a complication that the doctor had foreseen, but I had not. 

I had to look up this painkiller and found that it is a very powerful opiate -- one I'd never heard of -- in fact, I'd bet that it would not be the top three opiates that Mikbone would guess.  I also found out that it is very addictive.  What was curious was that I also experienced several side-effects (which were all listed in the drug description).  Usually, drugs take about 45 minutes to affect me.  But this started working at around 25 to 30 minutes.  As thrilled as I was that the pain was gone, I felt no elation.    I felt no "high" that others seem to.  Instead, I felt dizziness, nausea, vertigo, and other similar effects that I can't quite describe.  Other effects combined to make my experience... hmmm... "miserable beyond all reason"... yeah that's it.

I ended up proclaiming to my family,"How on earth to people get addicted to this stuff!?!  This is HORRIBLE!  Why would anyone want to live like this?"  I seriously considered just living with the pain rather than go through with this again.  Nope.  No danger of me being addicted.  The next day, I chose to not take any more... until the pain came back.  And it was bad.  So, I took a pill.  This was generally taken every four hours (per the prescription).  But I only took two the entire first 24 hours.  Then one on the second day.

The third day, the pain was not as bad.  So, I didn't take one until bedtime when I realized I'd be lying in bed, so the dizziness, etc. wouldn't affect me as much.  I'm now in day four.  Pain is less.  I'm NOT taking another pill tonight.  I'm hoping I'll just sleep through the pain.  We'll see.  But it's pretty clear, I'm not going to want to keep taking this stuff since it seems I'm healing properly and the pain is less and less.

But this made me realize something.  There are some people who have tendencies to sin in one way.  Others have tendencies to sin in other ways.  And we all have a tough time with our own "pet sins".  Yet it is so easy for us judge others and wonder "why would people get taken in by this?"  But then we're taken in by other sins simply because we're just built that way physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, socially...

It made me wonder about how much "better" I think myself to be just because "I sin differently than others".  I know that has been said more than a few times on these forums.  But it really hit home through this experience.

Edited by Mores

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Thanks for sharing your insight @Mores.  It reminded me of an experience I had last week.  I've been attending a 10 week group therapy course put on by Provident Living: Family Services on recovering from pornography addiction/compulsive use.  Last week, they had us invite our bishops in an effort to educate them on how porn users think, view themselves, what type of help we need.  It also helped the ward members (this is how the counselors referred to the porn users) see things from the leaders' perspectives.  

Near the beginning, the counselor had everyone write down one word answers about what they associate with porn use.  Then we shared with the group.  There were a lot of answers like, dirty, bad, confusing, dangerous, evil, etc.  From both the bishops and from the ward members.  One I shared was excited, and a couple others that probably are suitable on this forum but were 'good' feelings.

There are reasons that there is an epidemic of porn use in the church (and outside too).  To only focus on the negative aspect of it like was done in group doesn't help address the reasons why people use it.  

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In my youth, in my journal I wrote that I had discovered that the worst part of sin isn't the sin or even the consequences - the worst part comes when I realize how wrong and damaging is the sin and go through the process of repenting.  To accommodate this understanding I have altered a quote from Alma, "Wickedness never was happiness but it was fun while it lasted."

I must also admit that I am quite perplexed when someone talks about how wonderful repentance is.  When repentance is done with - then the universe is wonderful and all is aligned but for me repentance has always been more painful than committing the sin.  So much so that I wonder if some just pretend and do not really repent just to avoid the hassle, pain, suffering and trauma of it.  The easy part for me has always been the sin - the hard part has always been repentance.  

When someone says that repentance is easy and no big thing - I wonder, "Are you still tempted to commit the sin? Maybe you are not quite committed enough to repent of it and determine not to ever do anything even like that again."  And it is not just putting myself through the process; it is also realizing what I put Christ through.  And so, for me, I find the big dramatic sin more likely to focus on and go through the whole process.  But the little insignificant sins - as stupid as it sounds - are much harder to come to grips with and convince myself that even such a little sin is worth the hassle of repententing and being done with it.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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Well, for my biggies, I've never said repentance was easy or no big thing.  Quite the opposite.  But yes indeed I am grateful for the repenting I've done, they've absolutely been wonderful experiences.   I don't see any conflict between "wonderful" and "hard" here.

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6 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Well, for my biggies, I've never said repentance was easy or no big thing.  Quite the opposite.  But yes indeed I am grateful for the repenting I've done, they've absolutely been wonderful experiences.   I don't see any conflict between "wonderful" and "hard" here.

When I start the process and review openly with G-d what I have done - wonderful just does not come to mind.  In my youth there were a few times I had to go to my father and confess what I has done (hopefully before he found out from other sources).  It is the more difficult with my Father in Heaven.  Neither ever said, "I warned you and told you so".  But they had and I we all knew it - weather it was said or not.  I would much rather say, "I am not going into specifics - but please forgive me of all my sins and fix everything (so I don't have to think about it).

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Traveler said:

When I start the process and review openly with G-d what I have done - wonderful just does not come to mind.  In my youth there were a few times I had to go to my father and confess what I has done (hopefully before he found out from other sources).  It is the more difficult with my Father in Heaven.  Neither ever said, "I warned you and told you so".  But they had and I we all knew it - weather it was said or not.  I would much rather say, "I am not going into specifics - but please forgive me of all my sins and fix everything (so I don't have to think about it).

 

The Traveler

@Traveler I think you may be focused on one aspect of repentance.  I really loved Pres. Nelson's talk in April "We Can Do Better and Be Better."  He talked of repentance as change, changing our minds, our knowledge, our spirits, even the way we breathe.  I don't think the people who call repentance wonderful mean to take away from the work it takes or the pain they go through.   But changing, becoming more Christ-like is a wonderful thing, even if it isn't all lollipops and rainbows.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/04/36nelson?lang=eng

 

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20 hours ago, Traveler said:

When I start the process and review openly with G-d what I have done - wonderful just does not come to mind.

Maybe a difference between you and me: My biggie repentance event was preceded with years of believing I was evil and doomed and horrible and a bad person, unworthy of love, who would be righteously rejected by all the good or smart people.   I didn't believe I had done wrong, I believed I had no value, that I WAS wrong.

Compared to the pain of internalizing that lie for so long, the short-term uncomfortableness of discussing some stuff I used to do but hadn't for years, then going through a quick process of renouncing and changing my walk, followed by being forgiven/redeemed/cleansed? Accompanied with the revealed truth that I was indeed a loved son of God, inheritor of a divine birthright, a good person?   Forgive me while I jump for joy.  I have to jump, in order to keep my heart inside me, because it's leaping for joy whether I go with it or not.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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43 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Maybe a difference between you and me: My biggie repentance event was preceded with years of believing I was evil and doomed and horrible and a bad person, unworthy of love, who would be righteously rejected by all the good or smart people.   I didn't believe I had done wrong, I believed I had no value, that I WAS wrong.

Compared to the pain of internalizing that lie for so long, the short-term uncomfortableness of discussing some stuff used to do but hadn't for years, then going through a quick process of renouncing and changing my walk, followed by being forgiven/redeemed/cleansed? Accompanied with the revealed truth that I was indeed a loved son of God, inheritor of a divine birthright, a good person?   Forgive me while I jump for joy.  I have to jump, in order to keep my heart inside me, because it's leaping for joy whether I go with it or not.

I can't 'love' this comment enough.  You said what I was trying to find words for.

25+ years of living a double life, of being convinced I was a telestial person, not redeemable, of lies to keep my family together in this life because i KNEW I wouldn't be with them in the next life.  That was hell.  Confessing to the Bishop, to my wife, to the Stake President, to the Disciplinary Council, going to therapy, changing my habits, going through withdrawals, suffering panic attacks, 12 step programs.  These repentance steps have all been difficult, even heart wrenching, but definitely wonderful.  

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On 10/16/2019 at 9:29 AM, NeuroTypical said:

Maybe a difference between you and me: My biggie repentance event was preceded with years of believing I was evil and doomed and horrible and a bad person, unworthy of love, who would be righteously rejected by all the good or smart people.   I didn't believe I had done wrong, I believed I had no value, that I WAS wrong.

Compared to the pain of internalizing that lie for so long, the short-term uncomfortableness of discussing some stuff I used to do but hadn't for years, then going through a quick process of renouncing and changing my walk, followed by being forgiven/redeemed/cleansed? Accompanied with the revealed truth that I was indeed a loved son of God, inheritor of a divine birthright, a good person?   Forgive me while I jump for joy.  I have to jump, in order to keep my heart inside me, because it's leaping for joy whether I go with it or not.

For me it is like the parable of the Prodigal Son.  Getting the courage to return home, ask for forgiveness and hopefully be allowed to just be a servant is difficult - Perhaps I never hit bottom or failed - but just realizing I had soiled the family name was enough.  Perhaps the difference is that I am a 5th generation member and my biological parents were righteous and took great care to teach me correctly.  I also had two older brothers that were from the mold of my father.  One has a near photographic memory, the other a relentless long suffering but compassionate nature that never gives up and never even started something that was not incredible.  Both fearless in their accomplishments and forever profound examples.  Then there is me.  I have never been rebellious, but always the one distracted and never quite up to family potential.  In essence caught between two worlds.  My family where I am the quintessential underachiever and the world outside of family - where I am an amazing overachiever. 

 

The Traveler

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