Sunday, June 7, 2015

Avoiding Spiritual Dry Rot

One of my sons started a project to finish the basement in their home. In the process of removing the old insulation on the outer wall he discovered that because of a leak the wood on that wall had dry rot and most of the wall had to be removed.

Dry rot is a fungus that eats the wood and weakens it. If it is not stopped and replaced it will spread to the rest of the wood and the wall or floor becomes weak and could collapse. My son had to remove the outside siding and replace the wall increasing the cost of finishing his basement. He could have ignored it but doing so could have caused more damage and would have cost more money later. Though it was expensive and caused delays it was necessary.

When we sin and do not take the necessary steps to repent but hide our sins thinking that if we pray enough or go to church enough our sins will be forgiven. Instead of getting rid of our sins a type of spiritual dry rot grows and spreads until our foundation is rotted out and crumbles. Garth Jensen speaking about spiritual dry rot said:

“There are some individuals who have sinned and try to put on a good face, just like the structure appeared undamaged in the meetinghouse.  However, inside there is a form of dry rot or should I say sin that is present and working hard to cause decay to the soul. There are some who think that if they say a few prayers that this sin will go away.  Satan wants you to believe this.  Brothers and sisters, the sin will not go away unless we make a drastic change, remove, and then rebuild our damaged soul from our sins.  True repentance is only through having a godly sorrow that changes ones heart, that transforms ones nature, and then most importantly, saves ones soul.” (“Repentance Brings Forgiveness”, Garth Jensen, BYU-Idaho Devotional, May 28, 2013)

The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon reminds us of the importance of not waiting to repent:

And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so man witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of edarkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. (Alma 34:33)

In modern times the Lord has reminded us of the consequences of not repenting. He said:

Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. (Doctrine & Covenants 19:15-19)

The Prophet Isaiah taught that no matter what we did we can be forgiven and cleansed. He said “that though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Getting rid of dry rot in a home can be expensive and cause delays so too repentance can be hard and take time, but it will be worth the effort. To try to cover our sins and not repent is even more damaging to our spirits than rotten wood is to the stability of our homes.

I have seen individuals that have suffered the effects of spiritual dry rot overcome their sins through repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ. The transformation is a beautiful process and their lives have become stronger as they have experienced this spiritual rebirth.

Brother Jensen testified of the power and blessing of repentance and forgiveness when he said:

“We may think that the sin or the challenge, we need to overcome or conquer, is greater than we can bear, but I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ we can and will overcome if we trust in the Lord.  We need to turn ourselves around and work hard to bring ourselves up to a certain level; we must repent and go through all the steps of repentance, but remember and never doubt, the Savior will bring us the rest of the way.  We will overcome; our sins will be removed; the damage will be repaired, and once again we will feel the Holy Spirit in our life.” (“Repentance Brings Forgiveness”, Garth Jensen, BYU-Idaho Devotional, May 28, 2013)

I add my testimony of the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that he is there when we need him. If we seek him in humble pray and follow the repentance process I know we can be clean and pure. There is nothing we can do that cannot be forgiven if we seek repentance properly. Our spiritual dry rot can be cleansed and we become new creatures through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Your comments and questions are welcome.

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