In the Book of Mormon in Alma 10:6 Amulek says something that's always intrigued me. He says, "I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know". How many times have I found those words to ring true for me. There have been times where I've wanted things to be or work out a certain way. My will becomes so strong that I seek to "become a law unto (my)self" (DC 88:35). This isn't a struggle that only Amulek and I have faced. Others have felt this inward struggle of will too.
Korihor acknowledged it when he finally admitted "I always knew"yet he chose another path against what he "knew"because it was "pleasing unto the carnal mind" (Alma 30:52-53). Christ spoke in parables because there were others who knew, yet they would not know. He referred to them when he said, "hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive" (Matt. 13:14). Laman and Lemuel were also unwilling to "know"what they "knew". They had seen angels, they had heard the voice of the Lord and they had had the still, small voice speak to them, yet they were "past feeling" and their hardended hearts that refused to understand "could not feel his words"(1 Nephi 17:45). Finally James spoke of another multitude that knew yet would not know when he said "the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19). Obviously "knowledge" doesn't always motivate us to works.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to become spiritually blind. In such a state of spiritual blindness we begin to only see those things which are "pleasing to the carnal mind". It would be naive to consider the promises made to Lehi that ïnasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper"(1 Nephi 2:20) as merely a promise of economic prosperity. Yet when we are carnally minded and mind the things of the flesh, we develop tunnel vision which limits our eternal vision. Similarly, it would be foolish to consider our temple covenants as offering only physical blessings, tithing as only opening the windows of heaven in a financial sense, missionary service as only benefiting a family monetarily, the priesthood as only offering physical security, protection and healing, love as only occurring with someone that meets the physical criteria of a list, and Christ as a miracle worker only to those with physical ailments.
So what is the solution to all this spiritual blindness? He who healed the blind of his day, also has the power to heal the spiritually blind. We must have faith in him. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). Sometimes the way our hearts want to understand and perceive things is after the manner that is "pleasing to the carnal mind". Sometimes our hearts must be broken before they can feel. But heartache alone is not sufficient. It must be the right type of breaking and sorrow.
When we begin a fast, we long for food. Even so, our natural man's response to any pain is to initially question it, to wonder why me, and long for the time when we had what we wanted and could persist in our own way. In fasting, we must reach a mindset where our physical hunger ceases to be a preoccupation and our hearts are stilled, we are inwardly quieted and we feel submissive. Heartache must take us to a similar place if we are to progress. Otherwise we experience what Mormon called the "sorrowing of the damned" and what Paul referred to as "the sorrow of the world" (Mormon 2:13, 2 Corinthians 7:10). "Their sorrowing was not unto repentance because of the goodness of God...they did not come unto Jesus...but they did curse God, and wish to die" (Mormon 2:13-14). It's not just a broken heart that the Lord requires because there are those that would still be unwilling to give up their own agendas despite their pain. Just as we cannot change another's heart and we can't change truth, the Savior will never force our hearts to change and can't heal us without our consent. He honors our agency. We are the only ones that have the final say as to the condition of our hearts. Ours must be a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We must "cease doing things our way and learn to do things God's way instead. In such a condition of submissiveness, the atonement can take effect and true repentance can occur. The penitent will then experience the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost which will fill them with peace of conscience and the joy of reconciliation with God" (Bruce D. Porter, A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit, Ensign 11/07).
I know that God is more loving and merciful with us than we sometimes envision him to be. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Johh 3:17). Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father. When we recognize that we're "kicking against the pricks" and that our hearts may not be broken and contrite, we can pray for help. If we pray in sincerity to the Lord asking for His help to find a way to change, He will help us realign our will with His. This is true humility- knowing we are unworthy of such mercy yet he grants it regardless because He loves us.