As Jesus Christ continued His sermon at the temple in Bountiful, He cautioned the people about judging others and instructed them to seek blessings from Heavenly Father by praying and doing His will. The Savior also warned them about false prophets and emphasized the importance of doing the will of God.
Invite students to consider whether it is ever appropriate to make judgments of other people. Give them a moment to ponder this question. You might ask them to discuss their responses in pairs. You could also invite a few of them to share their responses with the class.
Explain that 3 Nephi 14 contains a continuation of the Savior’s teachings to the Nephites at the temple. As students study 3 Nephi 14:1–6 today, invite them to look for what Jesus Christ taught about judging others.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 14:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify the warning Jesus Christ gave about judging others. You may want to explain that the word mete, found in 3 Nephi 14:2, means to measure or judge. The phrase “with what measure ye mete” refers to the standard a person uses to measure or judge other people.
What warning did Jesus Christ give about judging others?
To help students understand the Savior’s words in 3 Nephi 14:1, explain that the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7:1 reads: “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment” (in Matthew 7:1, footnote a).
Invite a student to read aloud the following explanation in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference:
“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. …
“Judgement is an important use of your agency and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards. Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 90).
How would you express the truth in 3 Nephi 14:2 in your own words? (Students’ responses should reflect the following truth: We will be judged according to the way we judge others.)
Display a speck of material, such as a small sliver of wood. Explain that another word for a speck is mote. Then display (or draw on the board) a wooden beam or a long piece of wood. Inform students that the Savior referred to a mote and a beam to help us understand problems that arise when we judge others unrighteously.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 14:3–5 aloud, and ask the class to think about what the mote and beam represent.
What does the mote represent? (A fault we see in someone else.)
What does the beam represent? (Our own faults.)
Point out that the Savior’s analogy focuses on objects that are lodged in the eye. Such objects would affect a person’s vision.
What principle can we learn from verses 3–4 about the effects of focusing on the faults we may perceive in others? (Help students identify the following principle: Focusing on the faults we perceive in others can prevent us from recognizing our own faults. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures near verses 3–4.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following story told by President Thomas S. Monson.
“A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.
“‘That laundry’s not clean!’ Lisa exclaimed. ‘Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!’
“John looked on but remained silent.
“Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.
“A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, ‘Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.’
“John replied, ‘Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!’” (Thomas S. Monson, “Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 122).
Instead of reading the preceding quote, consider showing the Mormon Message “Looking through Windows” (2:19). This video is available on LDS.org.
How might this story help us understand that focusing on the faults we perceive in others can prevent us from recognizing our own faults?
What are some other situations in which focusing on the faults we perceive in others might prevent us from recognizing our own faults?
According to verse 5, what should we do instead of focusing on the faults of others?
Summarize 3 Nephi 14:6 by explaining that Jesus counseled the multitude to avoid sharing something that is sacred with those who will not appreciate it or honor its sacredness.
Bring some bread to class and eat a piece in front of the students. Invite those who would like some bread to raise their hand. Choose a student who raises his or her hand and give him or her a stone. Ask the student what he or she expected to receive.
Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 14:7–11. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught the Nephites using an analogy that included bread and a stone.
What does the Savior teach in these verses about our Heavenly Father?
According to verse 7, what does our Heavenly Father expect us to do before He gives us good gifts?
What principles can we learn from 3 Nephi 14:7–11? (Students may identify a variety of principles. One principle you may want to emphasize is that Heavenly Father blesses us when we pray for His help. Invite students to consider marking the words that teach this principle in their scriptures.)
Why is it important to you to know that Heavenly Father will bless you when you pray for His help?
When have you been blessed by Heavenly Father as you have prayed for His help? (You may want to give students a moment to ponder this question before they answer it. Also consider sharing an experience of your own.)
Invite students to read 3 Nephi 14:12 silently, and ask them to consider how the Savior’s teaching in this verse can help them become more like Heavenly Father.
How can obeying the counsel in 3 Nephi 14:12 help us become more like our Heavenly Father?
Inform students that as the Savior continued to teach, He used powerful analogies to help us understand the importance of doing the will of Heavenly Father.
To prepare students to study the Savior’s analogies in 3 Nephi 14, conduct the following activity:
Divide students into groups of two to four. Give each student a piece of paper. Write the following scripture references on the board, and assign one of them to each group: 3 Nephi 14:13–14; 3 Nephi 14:15–20; 3 Nephi 14:24–27. (If you have a large class, assign scripture blocks to more than one group.) Ask students to read their assigned scriptures and draw illustrations of the analogies the Savior used. Also have them write what they learn from the analogies.
After sufficient time, have students show their pictures to the class and explain what they have learned. As students present what they have learned, ask questions such as the following:
How is obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ like walking on a narrow path? How is rejecting the teachings of Jesus Christ like walking on a wide path? What are some ways the Savior’s teachings are different from the teachings of the world?
Why would a wolf dress in sheep’s clothing? What does this analogy tell us about the desires and actions of false prophets?
If the trees in 3 Nephi 14:16–20 represent people, what might the fruits represent? (Answers might include people’s thoughts, words, actions, and influence on others.)
When we hear the Savior’s words and follow them, how are we like a man who builds his house on a rock? If we choose not to follow the Savior’s words, how are we like a man who builds his house on the sand?
After the students’ presentations and discussion, ask a student to read 3 Nephi 14:21–23 aloud.
What principle can we learn from 3 Nephi 14:21? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: We must do the will of Heavenly Father in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Write this principle on the board.)
How does this principle relate to the illustrations of wide and narrow paths, good and bad trees, and the wise man and the foolish man?
You might conclude by testifying of blessings you have received as you have followed the will of Heavenly Father. Give students a moment to ponder what they have learned from 3 Nephi 14. Invite them to write in their class notebooks or study journals about how they will improve in their efforts to follow the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 14. Time permitting, invite a few students to summarize what they have learned and to share what they will do because of what they have learned.