12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.
Abinadi paints a very clear picture of our state in this passage. We are in a precarious position, falling short of our own expectations of ourselves, and facing the consequences of our failures without someone to help us. The Savior stands with open arms, willing not only to help us overcome the consequences of our sins but also to strengthen and purify us so we don’t commit those sins any more. The real test is simply this: are we willing to accept His help? The ultimate question is whether we are willing to admit that we need His help, to see “things as they really are” (Jacob 4:13), and to humbly seek the help He is eager to provide.
Elder Neil L. Anderson taught that the Savior is eager to provide the help we need and that accepting His help can be a joyful experience for us:
The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God. It is the beckoning of a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel the happiness of keeping the commandments. Being disciples of Christ, we rejoice in the blessing of repenting and the joy of being forgiven. They become part of us, shaping the way we think and feel.
Among the tens of thousands listening to this conference, there are many degrees of personal worthiness and righteousness. Yet repentance is a blessing to all of us. We each need to feel the Savior’s arms of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins (“Repent…That I May Heal You,” General Conference, October 2009).
Today, I will heed the voice of the Spirit inviting me to turn toward God. I will acknowledge my weakness and my need for divine assistance. I will accept the help the Savior makes available to me as I repent and change.