Chasten: (v) to reprove
There are things that work and there are things that don’t.
Perhaps one of the most misleading ideas promoted in our society is the notion that a thousand paths lead to the same singular destination.
This has caused us to believe that we can ignore the wisdom of time and forge our own thoroughfare–and as long as we get “somewhere near it,” we’ve done a good thing by being independent.
Independence is over-rated. More often than not, it’s permission to fail instead of succeed–because leaving the sanctity of good counsel to prove your autonomy usually comes with a bundle of extra problems which have to be explained away later, as you cautiously tout your victory.
But let’s make three things clear:
1. Complaining is not chastening.
Human beings should not have to endure the incessant repetition of a grouchy spirit hounding them over their actions.
2. Assuming is not chastening.
Trying to take on the profile of “the gentle soul” who innocently assumes everyone knows the truth of the matter is often useless and can be vindictive if the silence causes another soul pain.
3. Prejudice is not chastening.
Asking a black man to hold his tongue because he’s “the son of Cain” and therefore not as worthy as white people is not a rebuke granting growth, but instead, instilling inferiority and fear.
Chastening is understanding what needs to be done–seeing that someone has taken a faulty turn and correcting him or her before the misstep turns into a tumble.
It must always be done in love, it must always be done quickly, and it must always be drenched in mercy and grace.