Been thinking about a scripture recently (Alma 32):

13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh arepentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and bendureth to the end the same shall be saved.

14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be ahumble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.

16 Therefore, blessed are they who ahumble themselves without being bcompelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without cstubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

That very last phrase is an intriguing one but that’s for another post.  Today I’ve been mulling over the humility bit.  It implies that at first, we are given the chance to be humble of our own accord.  If we don’t, we are ‘compelled’.  In this case, it’s the poverty of the people to whom Alma is speaking, but I think it can be applied more generally.  In any case, there’s only one way to ‘compel someone to be humble’ and that is by humiliation.

Now that word usually makes you think of fraternity/sports team initiations or having your trousers pulled down in public or suchlike, but the base idea is of an external force overwhelming you in such a way that you are unable to deny that  force’s supremacy.  In the Zoramites’ case, it was the injustice of their society, but it needn’t be something public or even recognisable by anyone else.  At some point, and in some way, it will be forcefully demonstrated to you that you are not all-powerful, or all-knowing, or whatever.  That you are not ‘all that’!  The question is what happens next.  Will you get mad and kick out and blame God for your troubles, or will you look to see the lessons that can be gained from your experience?

The closest analogy I can think of is if you’re playing a sport and you lose badly.  You can spend your time blaming the conditions or the referee, or you can go back to training and improve your game.  And that decision makes all the difference.