The Savior's Love
It’s been more than five years now, and never did I see myself coming this far. I didn’t think it was possible to repair the damage that was done after finding out that my younger brother, Harper, was severely addicted to pornography.
I remember the day I found out about Harper’s addiction. I was in high school at the time and was working on the computer for a homework assignment. I opened an Internet browser, and suddenly the screen was overwhelmed by obscene graphic content. I immediately turned the computer off and left the room.
I began to cry—not necessarily because of the content on the screen, but because of what I was feeling inside. It was like a dark feeling had entered the room, something I had never felt before. I was angry with my younger brother, who I knew must have been the reason behind the pornography, and I was disappointed in him. How could he do this to our family? I could only think that this would break our family apart, causing more contention in our home. I talked to my parents about it, who then talked to Harper, and soon the lies, secrecy, and deceit of his addiction were out in the open. When Harper was confronted, he denied the accusation and completely shut everyone out, including me. He seemed to feel as if I had betrayed him by talking to my parents.
I was angry, and my anger only grew as Harper continued to make wrong decisions. It had never been like him to make bad decisions; he had grown up a happy and spiritual boy. But soon he stopped attending church, began stealing, and completely disconnected himself from our family. It seemed to me that this plague had taken over his life, and there was nothing I could do as his older sister. I wanted to give him a cure-all for his addiction.
After finding out about Harper’s addiction, I felt something else that I’m sure many people feel when they have a loved one who is addicted—guilt. I felt I had completely failed as a big sister. It was my job to set a good example to my younger brother, to protect him from things like this. I had failed. And if I felt this way, I couldn’t imagine how our parents felt.
One day, I was praying to Heavenly Father, pleading with Him to help me know how to help my brother. I’ll never forget the question that entered my mind that day: What would Jesus do? That struck me, and it changed the way I thought about my brother. I had been trying so hard to cure Harper from his addiction that I had never considered that the Savior was the only one who could actually help him.
I was reminded of the Savior’s love. I reflected on when I had experienced that same love in my own life during times of trial. I wanted my brother to feel that love, and I knew the only way I could do that was to show Harper a love the Savior would give.
It took two years for me to accept that my younger brother had an addiction and that there was nothing I could for him other than show him continuous love—two years for me to realize that Harper was in the hands of the Savior, and I had to trust Him to know what was best for my brother.
Today, while my brother still struggles with his addiction, we have a better relationship with one another because of my own change of heart. I see Harper as a son of God who has distanced himself from the gospel for a time, but in the Lord’s time he will return to the fold again.