The word "sorrow" stuck out to me today.
There are three kinds of sorrow:
1. Sorrow for our sins (Godly sorrow)
2. Sorrow for others' sins (I think this is a form of compassion as we feel sad for those that are suffering, even if they have brought it upon themselves through personal choices).
3. Sorrow in our sins or circumstances (This kind of sorrow doesn't lead to change. It's just feeling sad because we were caught or because we can't have our cake and eat it too).
Mormon hoped that the wars and afflictions would bring the people back to the Lord. As they began to sorrow, in verse 12, Mormon was hopeful that it was #1 - Godly sorrow.
I have to admit I wish I saw more "Godly sorrow" in a world full of wickedness. I hope that many things may turn around the direction the world, at large, is heading.
However, things don't appear to be changing drastically now. Mormon soon found out that the "sorrow" the people felt wasn't leading them to real change.
It was #3, sorrow in their sins. They were sad that God would allow them to suffer - allow them to experience the consequences for their choices, and not keep the constantly safe from harm. They let this sorrow turn to anger, which hardened their hearts. This kind of sorrow usually leads to anger. Instead of humility, they felt anger at God, and pity for themselves (14)
That kind of sorrow is destructive. Because of it, their hearts were hardened further, and the Spirit of the Lord withdrew itself (26). That type of sorrow fed wickedness (27). They openly chose to embrace anger and pity, allowing their 'day of grace' to pass by them (15).
Now I feel #2 kind of sorrow, as did Mormon. He saw their misguided emotions and blame. He saw their wickedness (19) and he sorrowed for them.
I often feel this way as I allow my children to experience consequences and observe their own sorrow isn't leading them to change but leading them to anger. I often feel this way because I see what they are truly missing out on... peace!
It's all around me. In our day, we hear a lot of people with sorrow #3. They make poor choices, then curse God and feel sorry for themselves because they are in such a bad place. It's a tough pit to climb out of, and can only be escaped by climbing the rope of humility.
When I find myself leaning towards that kind of sorrow (whether it was caused by my own choices, or the choices of others) I must come to the Lord with broken hearts and contrite spirits (14). Only then will Ie find the relief, strength and understanding to endure and achieve eternal life.
My greatest joy and my greatest sorrow is found in one place... family. How can I protect them and lead them to desire #1 Godly sorrow? I think Mormon was trying to give me a hint.
-fortify my family through FHE, family scripture study, and family prayer, not to mention setting a good example with person study, prayer, and spiritual development. (21)
-gather together often in the above activities, fun activities, and church activities (21)
-speak often about how I feel about the Lord - share my testimony with my kids (23)
-urge them to make good choices (23) I am finding more and more that the Savior "invited" people to follow him. I believe that as I "invite" I will have greater chances in urging them to look to the Savior - even those that currently reject Him.
-stand boldly for things that are right (23) I can't back down on righteous principles. That doesn't mean that I don't allow them to make choices, even bad ones. It means that I do my very best to give them a good reason to choose the right through being a good example.
-protect family (23)... family time... family values... family feelings...