by Saint Mark (bio)
This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine. Read or watch this sermon here, or read previous MMM Sermons.
When I left my very hedonistic life behind and decided to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, there were a lot of growing pains. I felt like everything I read and every talk I heard was directed at me and included a litany of characteristics and behaviors that I needed to change to become more like the Savior. Not that I am anywhere near where I need to be, but the distance between who I am and who I need to become has decreased. I'm not at the base of the mountain any more, I guess you could say, and it's all because of the law of chastening that Elder D. Todd Christofferson addresses in his April 2011 General Conference sermon.
Here are some choice nuggets:
Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations ...Marriage seems to foster these chastening experiences. I'm grateful to my wife when she lets me know that I have bad breath while fasting or if I should approach a relationship problem in a different manner. She has amazing insights and sees me better than I see myself sometimes. Unfortunately, I don't know if my wife is as receptive to correction from me. Perhaps it is my approach.
In all of this, God's purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: "The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."
Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler "who meets their needs when summoned" or a therapist whose role is to help people "feel good about themselves." It is a religious outlook that "makes no pretense at changing lives." "By contrast," as one author declares, "the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism." ...
Remember that if we resist correction, others may discontinue offering it altogether, despite their love for us. If we repeatedly fail to act on the chastening of a loving God, then He too will desist ...
All of us can meet God's high expectations, however great or small our capacity and talent may be.
How do you approach your spouse when he/she needs some words of correction? I like Elder and Sister M. Russell Ballard's approach. When one of them needs correction, the other spouse says, "Dear, I have a suggestion." If the spouse is ready to hear it then they say "okay." If not, then the correcting spouse doesn't share the correction. What do you do?