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.
Suggestions for Teaching
The Savior teaches about making righteous judgments
To prepare students to study the Savior’s teachings on making righteous judgments, read 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!’” (“Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 122).
What lessons can we learn from this story?
Explain that 3 Nephi 14 contains a continuation of the Savior’s teachings to the Nephites at the temple. Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 14:1–2. 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.
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.)
To help students understand the Savior’s command to “judge not” in 3 Nephi 14:1, invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for the type of judgment we are to avoid making of others.
“Final judgment … is that future occasion in which all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to our works. … I believe that the scriptural command to ‘judge not’ refers most clearly to this final judgment. …
“… Why did the Savior command that we not judge final judgments? I believe this commandment was given because we presume to make final judgments whenever we proclaim that any particular person is going to hell (or to heaven) for a particular act or as of a particular time. When we do this—and there is great temptation to do so—we hurt ourselves and the person we pretend to judge. …
“… The gospel is a gospel of hope, and none of us is authorized to deny the power of the Atonement to bring about a cleansing of individual sins, forgiveness, and a reformation of life on appropriate conditions” (“‘Judge Not’ and Judging,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 7, 9).
How does Elder Oaks’s statement help you understand the Savior’s command to “judge not”?
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.
How can our faults affect the way we see others?
Invite students to consider whether it is ever appropriate to make judgments of other people. Give them a moment to ponder this question. Then explain that in the inspired translation of Matthew 7:1, the Prophet Joseph Smith clarified the Savior’s teaching about judging others. According to Joseph Smith, the Savior said, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:1 [in Matthew 7:1, footnote a]). Invite a student to read the following explanation in True to the Faith:
“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” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 90).
To help students see that the Savior taught the importance of making righteous judgments, invite them to read 3 Nephi 14:6 silently. Ask them to identify some judgments He instructed us to make. Ask them to report what they find.
What does it mean to give that which is holy to dogs or to cast pearls before swine? (To share something that is sacred with those who will not appreciate it or honor its sacredness.)
How does the Savior’s counsel in 3 Nephi 14:6 require us to make judgments of others?
After students respond, read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about other situations in which we need to make righteous judgments:
“We all make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing how we will spend our time and our money, and, of course, in choosing an eternal companion. …
“… A righteous judgment will be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest” (“‘Judge Not’ and Judging,” 9).
Why is it important to make righteous judgments in areas such as choosing friends, deciding how we spend our time and money, and choosing an eternal companion?
What are some other situations in which we need to make judgments of others? (Students might mention choosing between potential employers or deciding whether to accept an invitation to go on a date.)
The Savior teaches about seeking blessings from Heavenly Father
Ask students to read 3 Nephi 14:7–11 silently, looking for the Savior’s teachings about Heavenly Father’s willingness to answer our prayers. Explain that if earthly fathers, who are kind and loving but imperfect, will give their children bread and fish instead of stones and serpents, our Heavenly Father, who is perfectly kind and loving, will certainly answer His children’s prayers for help.
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.)
Why is it important to you to know that Heavenly Father will answer your prayers?
When have you felt Heavenly Father’s love for you through the way He has answered your prayers? (You may want to give students a moment to ponder this question before they answer it. Also consider sharing an experience of your own.)
The Savior teaches the importance of doing the will of Heavenly Father
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 2–4. 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? (See 3 Nephi 14:13–14.) 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? (See 3 Nephi 14:15.) 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? (See 3 Nephi 14:24–25.) If we choose not to follow the Savior’s words, how are we like a man who builds his house on the sand? (See 3 Nephi 14:26–27.)
After the students’ presentations and discussion, ask a student to read 3 Nephi 14:21–23 aloud.
What can we learn from 3 Nephi 14:21? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth [write this truth on the board]: We must do the will of Heavenly Father in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.)
How does this truth relate to the illustrations of wide and narrow paths, good and bad trees, and the wise man and the foolish man?
Give students a moment to ponder and apply what they have learned from 3 Nephi 14. Invite them to write in notebooks or scripture 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. You might conclude by testifying of blessings you have received as you have followed the will of Heavenly Father.