12 And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;
13 That ye turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength; that ye lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly; but rather return unto them, and acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done.
It is a hard thing to admit that you are wrong or that you have flaws. We have a natural instinct to justify ourselves, to blame others for problems, and to make excuses for our failings. But it is impossible to repent (and therefore impossible to progress) without acknowledging our sins and shortcomings.
Alma gives this counsel to his rebellious son Corianton. But in the prior chapter, he tells his righteous son Shiblon, “acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times” (Alma 38:14). Clearly, all of us need to learn to humble ourselves in this way.
Today, I decided to take Alma’s admonition to heart. At the end of the work day, I had a difficult conversation with one of my coworkers. My instinctive response was to justify myself, but I made a deliberate attempt to ask myself, “Is there some truth in this other person’s opinion? Is the conversation reflective of some weakness on my part which I can overcome or at least be aware of?” I haven’t fully been able to fully answer those questions yet, and the conversation still stings just enough that I can’t be fully objective about it, but I was able to apply one of the lessons I learned from it immediately in a different project I’m involved in. I’m grateful for Alma’s reminder that I need to be willing to see my weaknesses in order to overcome them.