Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chastening and Chastisement

Today I ran across a scripture that spoke of the Lord chastening His people and I thought, “Hmm, that’s not really a topic that we hear much about in church. Maybe I will study that.” It is interesting that we have talks and lessons about enduring to the end and responding to afflictions and trials as things that just sort of happen in our lives, but we really don’t hear much at all about chastening and chastisement specifically from the Lord. Perhaps this is something that we can learn to recognize and if we recognize it, we can bear it better and profit from it more.

First of all, it might be helpful to look at some dictionary stuff.

Chastise – rebuke or reprimand severely; punish esp. by beating
Chasten –(of a reproof or misfortune) to have a restraining or moderating effect upon, archaic (esp. of God) discipline; punish. At the bottom of the history of this word is the idea of moral purity and chastity

This suggests that chastening is milder than chastisement and it would be wise to be alert to cases when each is used. I really like that idea of the restraining or moderating effect of chastening. That truly feels consistent with how the Lord would try to discipline us.

Chastening is important for families
My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place. (D&C 93:50)
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
This scripture suggests both chastisement through the reference to the rod and chastening through the words “reproof give[s] wisdom”. It also warns of the long-term consequences of neglecting a child—parental shame.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 19:18)
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death. (D&C 121:43-44)
Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. (Deuteronomy 8:5)
Chastening from God is evidence of His love
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelations 3:19)
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8)
Goals of chastening
And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; (D&C 1:27)
Nevertheless, I would not suffer that ye should part until you were chastened for all your sins, that you might be one, that you might not perish in wickedness; (D&C 61:8)
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 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 12:9-11)
Some reasons we are chastened
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. (Helaman 12:3)
4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son….
6 Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
7 They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
8 In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me. (D&C 101:4,6-8)
Verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will chasten them and will do whatsoever I list, if they do not repent and observe all things whatsoever I have said unto them. (D&C 98:21)
And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them. (D&C 103:4)
It is interesting here that the scripture uses both chasten (the mild form) and chastisement (the severe form).
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer. (D&C 105:6)
My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. (D&C 64:8)
And I give unto him a new commission and a new commandment, in the which I, the Lord, chasten him for the murmurings of his heart; (D&C 75:7)
Sources of Chastening
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(Timothy 3:16-17)
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: (2 Samuel 7:14)
And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; (D&C 87:6)
21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.
24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings. (Mosiah 23:21-24)
Problems enduring chastening
And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. (1 Nephi 16:2)
For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified. (D&C 101:5)
…he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom. (D&C 136:31)

Ways we should react to chastening and chastisement
Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. (Isaiah 26:16)
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: (Job 34:31)
Promises for enduring chastening and chastisement
17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
(Job 5:17-18)
36 But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me.
37 For she shall not be removed out of her place. I, the Lord, have spoken it. Amen. (D&C 90:36:37)
12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;
13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. (Psalms 94:12-13)
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
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 (D&C 136:31)
Who makes it all possible?
But [Christ] was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
It is significant that this scripture uses chastisement (the severe form) here.

So what have we learned from these scriptures? Here’s some summaries based upon the above scriptures.

Chastening in families
  • Set house in order
  • Be diligent and concerned at home
  • Pray always
  • Both words and physical discipline can be used
  • Parental shame is a long-term consequence of neglecting a child’s discipline
  • Catch the errors early while there is still hope
  • Reprove with immediately with sharpness when the Spirit directs, then show an increase in love
  • The Lord chastens us like a father.
Chastening shows that Heavenly Father loves us and that we are His children

Goals of chastening are:
  • To get us to repent
  • To help us become unified
  • To save us from dying in our wickedness
  • For our profit
  • So that we can partake of God’s holiness
  • So that we will eventually bear peaceable fruit of righteousness
Some reasons we are chastened:
  • We won’t remember God without all kinds of afflictions happening to us
  • Among us there are jarrings, contentions, envy, strife, lust, covetousness, pollution of our inheritance.
  • We’re slow to listen to God
  • We disregard the counsel of God
  • We don’t observe to do everything God commands
  • We don’t obey completely
  • We seek occasion to be mad at each other and don’t forgive
  • We murmur in our hearts
Sources of chastening:
  • Scriptures
  • Through other people
  • War, bloodshed, famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning,
  • Bondage and slavery
If we can’t endure chastening:
  • We are cut to the center
  • We feel like the truth is hard
  • We can’t be sanctified
  • We are not worthy of God’s kingdom
Ways we should react to chastening:
  • Pray
  • Decided not to offend anymore
  • (REPENT)
Promises for enduring chastening:
  • The hurt will be healed
  • We will overcome
  • We will be clean before God
  • We will not be removed out of our place
  • We will have rest from days of adversity
  • We will not be condemned with the world
  • We will be prepared to receive the glory God has to give us
Christ was chastised (not chastened) on our behalf.


Chas Hathaway said...

We talk in the church about being above reproach, and in today's lingo, that appears to mean not letting it effect us. But I think the scriptures are talking about what you are saying, that we should humbly accept it, repent, and do better.

And, like you say, if we do, we will be able to be clean before God and prepared to receive His glory.


Michaela Stephens said...

I think "living above reproach" means that we live so righteously that the world can't find anything wrong with how we live. (And if they do find something wrong with us, it is a nit-picky unjust accusation)

But your interpretation of this phrase is an interesting way of looking at it that I hadn't thought of before.