Broken Heart - Contrite Spirit
Repentance is accompanied by a broken heart and contrite spirit. “When you turn to Him and see clearly for the first time how dark your ways have been, it should break your heart. You should realize how desperately you stand in need of His grace to cover you, lift you, and heal you. You can then appreciate the great gulf between you and Him (Genesis 1:2). If you had to bear your sins into His presence it would make you burn with regret and fear (Mormon 4:6). Your own heart must break. When you behold how little you have to offer Him, your spirit becomes contrite. He offers everything. And we can contribute nothing but our cooperation. And we still reluctantly give that, or if we give a little of our own cooperation, we think we have given something significant. We have not. Indeed, we cannot (Mosiah 1:8). He honors us if He permits us to assist. We should proceed with alacrity when given the chance to serve. How patiently He has proceeded with teaching us all. We have the law, we have the commandments. Still we hesitate. Still He invites and reminds us: Repent. Come to Him. Do what was commanded. The law is fulfilled, and He is its fulfillment. Look to Him and be saved. The heart that will not break does not understand the predicament we live in. The proud spirit is foolish and blind. Our perilous state is such that we can forfeit all that we have ever been by refusing Christ’s invitation to repent and turn again to Him.”1 If man will finally surrender his pride and come forward with a broken heart and real intent, returning to his Father, He will joyfully receive him (see Luke 9:13–14). There is joy in Heaven over everyone who awakens. Weakness is nothing, for all are weak. It is a gift, given to break one’s heart. A broken heart qualifies man for His company. Whether a leper, an adulteress, a tax collector, or a blind man, He can heal it all. But what He cannot do — and man must alone bring to Him — is that broken heart required for salvation.2 The purpose of putting a man in such a dependent state before God is not to find out whether God can take care of him. God already knows what a man needs before he should even ask. But the man will, by becoming so dependent upon God, acquire a broken heart and a contrite spirit, always quick to ask, quick to listen, quick to do. Vulnerability makes a man strong in spirit. Security and wealth make a man incorrectly believe in his independence from God. He wants His disciples to be dependent upon Him. He wants them praying and grateful to Him for what He provides. He wants them, in a word, to become holy.3 The Book of Mormon gives account after account of encounters between mankind and God where the only qualification was a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Those who do not have the required broken heart and contrite spirit come away saying, the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us (1 Nephi 4:2).4 “In the quiet service for others, when our minds finally come to rest on the only one who can save us, we can find that peace where the Lord comes to us and speaks words of comfort. He is real. He exists, and He comforts those who come to Him offering a broken heart and contrite spirit, and to none other.”5See also HARDNESS OF HEART.
1 “3 Nephi 12:19,” Oct. 10, 2010, blog post.
2 “3 Nephi 12:30,” Oct. 13, 2010, blog post.
3 “3 Nephi 13:26–32,” Oct. 25, 2010, blog post.
4 Preserving the Restoration, 383.
5 “Answers to Last Week’s Questions,” May 12, 2012, blog post.