17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
How often do we have sinful habits and behaviors in our lives that bring sorrow to those around us? Our harsh words, rude behavior, gossiping, bickering, and anger are like daggers which pierce the hearts of those we care about. And yet, we grow oblivious to the pain we are causing to others. Even though we can see the negative consequences, we don’t have the willpower or the desire to change. And nothing but the threat of destruction can cause our hearts to soften. How tragic is this situation.
How much better off would we be if we allowed the cries of those we love to soften our hearts. If we humbly listened to their counsel and repented. How many heartbreaks would we spare. How much suffering would we avoid. How much happier we could truly be. If only, we were able to put off our sinful conduct voluntarily and before we were threatened by destruction.
Laman and Lemuel could not do so. They would continue in their sinful indulgence until their destruction was nearly assured. And then, their repentance and the softening of their heart was the sorrowing of the damned. They did not truly experience a change of heart. Their conviction towards righteousness was one of convenience. And so time and time again they fell back on their wickedness.
I know what that is like. And yet, I also know there is a far better way. I hope that we can have the strength and desire to cast off our sins before they ripen to destruction. God will give us the strength needed to do so.