It is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ that the Lord chastens whom He loves:
- My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Hebrews 12:5-7, 11).
- ...and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins...(1 Nephi 16:39).
- Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you — Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face (Doctrine and Covenants 95:1, 2).
- Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son. For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified (Doctrine and Covenants 101:4, 5).
"Chastening is all about helping people reform, repent, and purify their lives. Righteous chastening is always based on love for the individual. The Lord chastens us because He loves us. He wants to help us stay on the straight and narrow path. He even helps us feel guilt to encourage us to repent. Sometimes He uses external means such as famine, pestilence, and many other hardships (see Helaman 11:4-18) to bring us to a state of humility so that we can be taught and persuaded to change our ways. Through chastening we can grow, provided we are easily entreated and don’t consider the chastening as punishment but rather as a 'course correction' or 'pruning,' if you will, to keep us on the right course. Chastening from a priesthood leader or parent should always be motivated by a desire to help us repent from sin or mistakes so that we can enjoy the blessings of the Spirit and ultimately return to the presence of our Heavenly Father."
When church leaders need to chasten in performing our role or stewardship in life, they are to follow the counsel given in Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-44: reproving (correcting) betimes (early on, without delay) with sharpness (with clarity) when inspired by the Holy Ghost. They should then remember always to follow up with compassion and love, lest the individual take them for an enemy.
Everyone who sins must come to realize the need to repent. Chastening can come in many forms to help us repent, reform, and purify our lives: godly guilt and sorrow, disciplinary councils, leaders exercising stewardship responsibilities concerning our behavior, external chastisement by physical means (earthly conditions) to bring us to a state in which we are willing to repent, visitations from Heavenly beings (see Ether 2:14), and any other means the Lord sees fit to use in helping His children.
Sometimes we become complacent, when things are going well. We forget the Lord and begin to take credit for our own gifts, talents, and accomplishments. In Helaman 12:2-3—2 it says,
- "Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him."
MODERN PROPHETS SPEAK
- Sometimes we need chastening. It’s an interesting thing that sometimes it takes calamity to drive us together. It’s a terrifying thing to think that that’s necessary, but the Lord said through one of His prophets that sometimes we have to have the chastening hand of the Almighty before we will wake up and humble ourselves to do the thing that He has asked us to do (see Helaman 12:3-6). In talking about the conditions that would come, He warned the people that death and destruction and all sorts of difficulties would have to come before people would listen, before they would obey, and He removes His hand and lets these things occur, or our people would not repent and come unto the Lord. (71-08)
(Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 191.)
- We as a people, will be chastened until we can wholly submit ourselves to the Lord and be Saints indeed. 5:354.
(Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 226.)
- Sometimes our chastening comes to us compressed in a difficult “little season” (D&C 103:4). Whatever the case, if we cannot endure chastening we do not yet qualify as true disciples: “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136: 31).
(Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 64.)
QUOTES ON CHASTENING
- • “If the Savior Himself, though the Son and perfect, learned obedience by the things that He suffered (Hebrews 5:8-9), how much should we, as imperfect children of God, welcome the chastening lessons of mortality and affirm the correcting hand of the Almighty.” —Anonymous
- • “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.” —Deuteronomy 8:5.
- What We Need to Know and Do, Ed Pinegar and Richard J. Allen