I was asked by my kids if the only way to be humble is to “be compelled” to be humble? “No,” was my answer. I explained, “…when we are compelled to be humble, SOMETIMES we choose to repent.” SOMETIMES is optional!
Humble Yourself: There is a far better way to “be humble.” I’ll refer to Alma to introduce how we can be humble without being compelled to be humble. I’ll give you hint: it has something to do with scripture study (surprise!):
“14. And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?
15. Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.
16. Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.”
Those who TRULY humble themselves are those who truly use the words of Christ. And they are much more blessed than those who are compelled to be humble. They are easily entreated, and express their faith through baptism.
Side Note: Those who are compelled to be humble suffer from exceeding poverty! They are the poor among us. They are the poor in spirit, who Alma turns all his attention to on the hill Onida. Those who are compelled to be humble are prepared to be taught.
Failing Efforts: Truly using the words of Christ cannot be oversimplified to just reading over it, again, and again. It doesn’t matter if you are a perfect home/visit teacher. Your church attendance and fulfilling your church callings cannot substitute your failure to lay hold upon the words of Christ. Practice doesn’t make perfect, …it just makes permanent. The constant repetition of unbelief we have been exposed to for so long, in the church, has produced in us a disregard for the scriptures. The scriptures sound like a broken record, causing us to cast them aside and considered them as naught, just as Nephi worried would happen:
2 Nephi 33:1-2
“1. And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
2. But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.”
It is not necessary for us to be compelled to be humble. But, because our hearts are hard against the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit has little or no space in us, compulsion is often a jolt that can SOMETIMES wake us up! Those who will not awake, cannot arise. And they end up casting aside things that are written, esteeming them as things of naught. All efforts that result in disregarding the scriptures are failing efforts.
Compelled: BUT! …SOMETIMES when we are compelled to be humble, men choose to repent!
“13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man “SOMETIMES,” if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.
When anyone is compelled to be humble, they are brought down low. Being brought down low is you at your lowest, on your knees, prostrate before God, flat on your face. When you are at your lowest, you can know that Christ descended, even below you, and has risen above you, thus He can teach you to rise above your bonds of poverty, pain, and suffering. Christ offers you the way out, through the atonement, giving you the missing light. “IF” you choose to repent, which SOMETIMES men choose to do, …all who repent will find mercy (that’s the light being offered in the atonement). The light given to you by Christ is the mercy He offers, that will empower, any repentant soul, to endure to the end of their faith, and be saved. It is the knowledge that goes missing in you.
Conclusion: If you have found yourself void of the words of Christ, such that it does not point you back into the presence of Christ in the flesh, then the words of Christ are not sufficiently in you. You may choose to repent, and lay hold upon the words of Christ, to humble yourselves by the word. Or you can wait to be compelled to be humble.
If you wait to be compelled to be humble, your chances of repentance, finding mercy, and being saved is reduced to SOMETIMES! Don’t depend upon SOMETIMES. Seek the words of Christ in humility. Don’t cast aside the words of Christ that have been written, and consider them as naught. Make room for the savior in your inn, by casting out the junk that wastes your time and attention, so you can experiment upon the word.
The prophets of old ALL experienced this lowliness of heart. Some have humbled themselves, bringing themselves to cry unto the Lord, falling flat on their faces in mourning for the Lord, prostrating themselves in helplessness, seeking Christ alone to repair them. Others have been compelled, like the sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger being struck down, or Zeezrom being cast down by guilt, or Paul on the road to Damascus. Weather or not you choose to humble yourself, or you are compelled to be humble, the path to return into the presence of Christ is exactly the same: “…and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.”
I have been compelled to be humble, having faced the possible loss of my wife and children, because of my own choices. In that position of being compelled, I learned really quickly that the world (including the church programs and it’s leaders) had nothing to offer to preserve what I desired most. I chose to repent, as SOMETIMES men choose to do. The road of repentance was long to me, and has been travelled by the vehicle of the words of Christ, which have filled me with light, that allows me to stand on a firm foundation, steadfast and immovable. The difficulty of that road was due to the hardness of my heart. But, I have obtained mercy.
I suggest that if you have not yet been compelled, choose to humble yourselves by a serious and TRUE effort of studying the words of Christ. If you have been compelled, and you find yourself with no balm in Gilead, no comfort, no solution, …then lay hold upon the words of Christ in your effort to repent.
Your compulsion can end! Some of you have endured generations of abuse and pain in your relationships. Some have suffered decades through the plagues that technology has introduced. Some have suffered and endured for years, through the death of a loved one. The suffering of being compelled to be humble can end. The atonement offers to replace your pain with light.
I promise you that your efforts will produce more than the comfort you initially sought. It will redeem you from the fall, and return you into the presence of God, as it did the brother of Jared (Ether 3:13). Christ is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” Follow Christ. Follow no man.