Finding hope in the midst of dark and troubling times can sometimes seem impossible. We can feel imprisoned by our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Yet, if we remember the true source of hope it can become easier to find our way out of the darkness.
Jesus Christ and his all-encompassing Atonement is the ultimate and unfailing source of hope. Whether the darkness and despair we feel is a result of our own choices or others' choices that have hurt us, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the way back to the light. In John 14:6, the Savior tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Finding hope after we have made mistakes
The adversary would like us think and feel that there is no hope for us after we make mistakes, especially for more serious sins. But that is simply not true! God knew we would not be perfect. We would make mistakes - lots of them. Therefore, he provided a mediator for us - a way that we could return to our heavenly home and have our sins washed away. Jesus Christ is that source of hope of being saved. But, it is up to us, as individuals, to accept and use the healing balm of the Atonement.
Boyd K. Packer, a religious leader, stated, "We may not live perfect lives, and there are penalties for our mistakes, but...the Savior wrought the Atonement, which provides a way for us to become clean....Those who repent and forsake sin will find that His merciful arm is outstretched still...The result of His sacrifice is to free us from the effects of sin, that all may have guilt erased and feel hope."
Regardless of what we have done or how far we think we have traveled away from the right path, we have hope because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We can always come back. We can always repent and make necessary changes. We are never too far away to be reached by the everlasting effects of the Atonement. Because of Christ, we have Hope for change.
The hope of the Atonement also extends to wrongs against us
More often than we'd like to think, human suffering comes at the hands of another person, through no fault of our own. People offend us, hurt our feelings or abuse us. Many innocent victims' lives have been altered by someone else's agency. Read Overcoming abuse through God.
Those who have been wronged may be tempted to seek revenge or make someone "pay" for the pain they have experienced. However, consider this: the Atonement has already paid for the wrongs against you - both for your pain and suffering, and the sin of the offender. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not only for sins, but heals the innocent and helps to right the wrongs in our lives.
Those who have been wronged need to realize it is not their fault - especially in instances of physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse. Pray and ask for help to overcome the negative effects of this abuse and seek help of professionals when needed. Healing with the Atonement is freeing. It can give us more understanding and compassion toward others in the same or similar situations. It can take away the pains and negative emotions associated with the memory of abuse.
Some wrongs can be a two-way street, such as an argument over a misunderstanding. Apologize and seek forgiveness where necessary. The Atonement is an opportunity for us to become better and heal.
Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have hope. No matter the circumstance, we know that Christ has felt all of our guilt and pains, and, therefore, can understand each of us personally. His Atonement has no bounds or limits. We can always repent, always change and be healed emotionally and spiritually because of Jesus Christ. We have no reason to despair when we have hope in and through Christ.