Humbled Or Hardened, The Choice Is Ours!


Over the course of my lifetime; I have had many private conversations with members of our faith. I have talked with people who have dealt with almost every imaginable problem that life can present. The circumstances of their trials, while different, have been similar because their faith in their fellowman, the church, and even in God has been tested. Some have become bitter, cursed God, and fallen away from the church. Thankfully, most have been strengthened by their trials. Seeing the different responses by members to their trials reminds me of the story of the Nephities, found in the scriptures. At one point in time, led by General Moroni, the Nephite army had waged battle with the Lamanites for many years.

“And…they had had wars, and bloodsheds, and famine, and affliction, for the space of many years. And there had been murders, and contentions, and dissensions, and all manner of iniquity among the people of Nephi… But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility” (Alma 62: 39-41).

The people had seen much death, destruction and all sorts of travesty during those years, things that make my trials pale in comparison! Yet, it states, “many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.” Others, of course, responded differently. Many, it reads, became “hardened.” I don’t know all the reasons why the “same circumstances” breed “different results.” But I do know that we are in control of what we choose. I also know that those I know who have chosen to become “hardened” do not seem as happy as those who have chosen to “humble” themselves before God.

I know of a woman who suffered a terrible accident, which resulted in the partial amputation of her leg. As time went on, the wound never seemed to completely heal. It became a mystery to her doctors. They were perplexed as to why over ten years, the wound would never properly cure. Over time, it became clear that the patient was re-infecting the wound on purpose.  Instead of moving onward and living her life with the disability, she was stuck in the past, never healing, and never being able to move forward. She allowed her trial to overcome her entire life robbing her of all joy.  She was consumed in her injury and eventually the unhealed wound led to her death at the young age of 38.

I have always found great comfort in reading the scriptures. We can learn much from the stories and doctrine found therein. In my trials, I have remembered the different way the people of Nephi handled their tribulations. “Get humble or get hardened!” is probably the best summation for us when trials come into our lives.  Let us choose to be “humble”! It makes for a more rewarding life and leads to eternal happiness!


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