Brigham Young University (BYU) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the “Mormon Church.” As part of their undergraduate coursework, BYU students take multiple Mormon religion classes.
Some of these students have shared their thoughts, insights, and reflections. We invite you to take a look at their epiphanies and discoveries as they delve into the scriptures.
Mercy vs. Justice
In class, we were reading in Helaman Ch.9 when Nephi, after prophesying of the death of the chief judge, is accused of being in on the murder. After being accused, despite the miraculous prophecy and even being bribed with money to lie, he rebukes the people and says, “O ye fools, ye uncircumcised of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked people, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin? O ye ought to begin to howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent” (verses 21 and 22).
After reading these verses in class, the professor asked us, “are Nephi’s words Christlike here?” After pondering for a few seconds, many people shook their heads no. My professor said that his words actually were Christlike! Nephi was saying exactly what the Savior would say in person.
The Christlike way to talk to people depends upon the audience. Christ speaks with mercy and softness to the humble and repentant, but he also talks plainly and directly with justice to those who are prideful or unrepentant.
Though speaking and disciplining this way is not what we usually think of as “Christlike,” it is because it is out of love the Lord chastises us, because the Lord said himself, “whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven” (D&C 95:1). It is also good to remember that the spirit will help us discern those times we must demonstrate justice, and also to show an increase of love after discipline: “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.” By the way, have you noticed the relationship between “discipline” and “disciple”? Just some things I thought were poignant.