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Tips for living: 'Guilt Free' shares 6 lies the adversary tells

By Wendy Jessen

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 22 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Karen John is the author of "Guilt Free: Using Remorse to Escape the Adversary's Tool."

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

It's easy to become despondent amid trials, imperfections and weaknesses. Karen John, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addresses these issues in her book, "Guilt Free: Using Remorse to Escape the Adversary's Tool" (Cedar Fort, $12.99, e-book $5.99).

John explains that because people are mortal, they have limitations. Satan uses these shortcomings against people, most often using lies tied to guilt. She suggests that instead of feeling guilty — an emotion that stifles our progression — that people ought to feel remorse, which causes them to act in a positive way.

Understanding Satan's tools is key. John shares six half-truths that should be ignored.

1. Comparison. Using others as a measuring stick for success is not an accurate view of anyone, she writes. All have strengths and weaknesses, but often people will compare their own weaknesses to others' strengths, giving a lopsided view of themselves and others.

2. Our thoughts. Satan tries to convince people that they are who they think they are rather than who God thinks they are. Thoughts can often be clouded by what others say and the beliefs people develop about themselves. This makes the true picture unclear and distorted, John writes.

3. The Atonement. Satan wants people to believe that if they sin "too much," they cannot be forgiven. This is not true, John writes. Satan is the opposition to the Atonement. The Atonement was made for all people on the earth without limitation.

4. Forgiveness. Satan tries to confuse people about the process of forgiving — either how long it should take or what it means to forgive. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that the wrongdoer should remain closely in a person's life, particularly in abusive situations, according to John.

5. Perfection. This tool of the adversary causes people to think that if they are not perfect, they must be failing, John writes. The truth is, perfection cannot be attained except through Jesus Christ's Atonement.

6. Mistakes. Along with perfection, Satan tries to make people believe that making mistakes is not normal and that a person is bad when he or she falters, John writes. Mistakes are an essential part of learning and growth. God knew everyone would make mistakes; that is why he gave them the Atonement.

As people understand the adversary's tools, they are better prepared to fight Satan's lies, John writes. She gives some ideas on how to remain "Guilt Free" while using remorse to use the Atonement fully.

"Guilt Free" is adaptable for families and has no objectionable language, but is more appropriate for a mature audience.

Wendy Jessen is a Southern Utah University graduate and a stay-at-home mother of six. Her email is wendyjessen26@gmail.com and she blogs at mormonmomofsix.blogspot.com.

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