Friday, November 18, 2016

3 Nephi 9

One of my very favorite scriptures has always been this one from 3 Nephi chapter 9 (or really, the first part of it):

20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Here Christ was talking to the people in the Americas after His death. What He taught us about repentance here is very important.

What exactly does it mean to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? It means that we will do everything we can to make things right. Oftentimes we make mistakes but are too proud to admit it. Sometimes we display the exact opposite - our hearts are hardened instead of broken and our spirits are haughty instead of humbled. It’s all too easy to rationalize our sins away or not commit to taking the steps that need to be taken to make amends, especially when something might be serious enough to merit a confession to our bishop.

However, that’s exactly what the people had felt before Christ’s coming. That’s exactly what had put them in this trouble in the first place. In fact,

18 Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.

So how do we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? More than anything I think it means having humility. We need to be willing to submit everything we have to God so that He can make things right again. I know I’ve had to do this before. It isn’t easy. But we do it because we know what awaits us if we do - and the consequences if we don’t. If we want to get back to our Heavenly Father, there really isn’t anything that should stand in our way. Any embarrassment we might feel now is nothing compared to what we get in return.

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