“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Being mortal and imperfect, we are all subject to many weaknesses. In this verse, the Lord explains His purpose in allowing us to experience mortality and to encounter such weaknesses—to help us be humble. Notice, though, that we choose to humble ourselves. How is becoming ready in step 6 part of humbling yourself? ARP Manual, Step 6, Study and Understanding.
It is interesting to me that we have some steps that are kind of two-part steps. It is as though we need to take time to get ourselves ready to become something like humble then actually act in that humility. Thus step 6 and 7 are two parts of the same step. I get this. Becoming humble after a lifetime of pride in a world of pride is a very difficult thing to do. It does take preparation of one’s mind and heart.
Coming unto Christ only to have weaknesses exposed is an emotionally difficult thing for me to do. For me it is analogous to going to the dentist for a toothache. I came for the pain to have it removed. But the dentist sees not only the tooth that is damaged, he sees the cleaning needed, the gum disease, the lack of flossing between the teeth. The humiliation of not having cared for the tooth in pain is added upon by the dentist’s continual mentions of my other failures while in the chair. I am not in the mood for this right now. I only want the pain to go away.
Of course, he knows better. He knows failing to do these other pieces will bring be back to his chair for the wrong reasons. He wants me back, but not to fix huge damage. He wants me back so he can improve upon what I have. He want to clean and fluoridate, and suggest ways to make my teeth strong, enduring and beautiful into my old age.
Yet if I fail to do this, I return only because the pain has become too severe. He can fix this, but the horrifically long needle that looks like a 18th century pneumatic instrument means this will not be a free from pain path.
Jesus doesn’t want us to go through the pain in the first place. He wants us to come to him to begin removing the little things so that he doesn’t have to perform the repeated root canals found in Alma 22:17:
And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
Yes we have to do this, but afterwards, we have to return to him over and over to have the maintenance and reminders of our souls. Then we have to follow this. Coming to Christ and being seated at his throne whereby he may expose to us our unseen and unfelt decay is crucial to continued happiness instead of a life of sorrow for serious sin then returning then serious sin again then returning again. This is not the Lord’s pattern. His is to have us return each day to have more of our folly exposed so we can return more to him to have more of our folly removed. This is the path to perfection. This is the path to God through Jesus Christ.