Reproving with sharpness

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At the end of D&C 121, we read about how priesthood holders ought to conduct themselves. For example, priesthood holders should be gentle, be kind, and not be hypocritical.

Consider verse 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;

I have heard people interpret this to mean that it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s okay to be critical or cutting as long as one is loving afterward. While sharp certainly can mean ?¢‚Ǩ¬ùcutting?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢, I wonder if it may be referring to something else, particularly given all the other qualities mentioned in the preceding verses.

Sharpness can also mean ?¢‚Ǩ¬ùacuteness?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and, ?¢‚Ǩ¬ùclarity?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. Using these definitions, the verse could be suggesting that when we reprove others, we should do it in a way to make our points clear, or perhaps do it with a clear mind. This, of course, would be more in line with the preceding verses.

4 thoughts on “Reproving with sharpness

  1. I also heard somewhere that “betimes” means “immediately,” not “sometimes.” I think “sharpness” could also mean “quickly,” as in “be there at 10 o’clock sharp”

  2. Elder Holland had some comments about this subject, quoted in “Purity & Passion” by Wendy Watson. Reproving with sharpness is NOT a general character attack, it is getting directly to the exact issue offensive.

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