Discussing Spiritual Differences- Revelation 3:19-20, Ezekiel 18:32

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

COMMENTARY

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten
The first and most important thing to understand when giving moral reproof is that it should only ever be an act of love. And the first and most important thing to understand when receiving moral reproof is that love can exist in a painful experience.
Everyone who has sought out God will know what it is to be chastened. Everyone who has become a true follower will have felt the reproof of their maker. When someone I know to be a genuine disciple of Christ has called me to repentance I have been greatly helped by the knowledge that they have sat in my seat, too, being called to repentance themselves.
For as the verse above says, there are none whom God loves that He has not chastened. And there are none that God does not love.

I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, wherefore turn yourselves, and live
I believe it is easy to take offense when called to repentance because we confuse the intentions behind it with the world’s use of reproof. The world criticizes those that are wrong in order to condemn them, to justify cutting them off, to argue that they should die socially, perhaps even literally!
But unlike the world, God takes no pleasure in death, or condemnation, or the loss of any child. He does not call us out on our sins to say “so you see, this is why I have no reason to love you.” If God is chastising us it only means that we are still within reach and He is trying to save us. True condemnation from God would not be words of fury, it would be silence.
If you feel moved to call out another on their follies, then you should pause to consider whether your own motivations are similarly pure. Are you driven by the worldly form of reproof or the divine call to repentance? Is your desire to make them feel your displeasure or to awaken them to God’s love? Are you doing this to rid yourself of their sins or to sow a brighter future? Are you trying to damn them or to save them? If it is the latter, then carry on as that same spirit guides you. If it is the former, then they are absolutely right to reject you and take offense.

Discussing Spiritual Differences- Mark 6:12, Doctrine and Covenants 6:9

And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.


COMMENTARY

And they went out, and preached that men should repent
Say nothing but repentance unto this generation

I have spoken a bit about how we can conduct ourselves when trying to enlighten the minds of others. If we establish a genuine and loving relationship first, and are motivated by that love for them, and are providing the instruction that will help them at their unique moment of life, then we have the ideal situation for teaching truth.
But sometimes our teaching isn’t directed towards someone who is already trying to become their best self. Sometimes we aren’t just nudging an already mostly-correct direction. Sometimes someone is doing things that are definitively wrong and they fully intend to carry on with that behavior. And in this situation, whether we can succeed in dissuading them from that course or not we have a moral obligation to try. They need to be reproved for their own sake (to caution them from harming themselves), and they need to be reproved for the sake of those around them (to caution them from harming others).
This is obviously a more touchy subject and I’ll dedicate the next several posts to considering it. For now, though, let us at least let acknowledge that while the gospel message does encourage the seeker it also reproves the sinner.