Jesus Christ’s sermon at the temple continues in 3 Nephi 14. He taught the people about judging others and instructed them to seek blessings from Heavenly Father through prayer. The Savior also warned against false prophets and emphasized the importance of doing the will of God.
Read the words of the second verse of the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” (Hymns, no. 220)—or sing it to yourself if you feel comfortable doing so:
Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee.
As recorded in 3 Nephi 14, the Savior continued to teach the Nephites at the temple. Read 3 Nephi 14:1–2, and consider how this direction from the Savior relates to the second verse of the hymn that you read. (It may help you to understand that the phrase “with what measure ye mete” refers to the standard by which a person measures or judges someone.)
Write answers to the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provided insight that helps us understand the Savior’s command to “judge not” in 3 Nephi 14:1. As you read it, underline the type of judgments he said we should avoid and why.
“There are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles. …
“The 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. …
“… A righteous judgment must, by definition, be intermediate. It will refrain from declaring that a person has been assured of exaltation or from dismissing a person as being irrevocably bound for hellfire. It will refrain from declaring that a person has forfeited all opportunity for exaltation or even all opportunity for a useful role in the work of the Lord. 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).
Ponder how Elder Oaks’s statement helps you understand the Savior’s command to “judge not.”
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal: How can the principle from 3 Nephi 14:2 that we will be judged according to how we judge change the way we look at others’ mistakes or weaknesses? Read 3 Nephi 14:12. How might this verse relate to this principle?
Have you ever had something small in your eye, such as an eyelash or speck of dust? The scriptures refer to a speck in one’s eye as a mote. A long, thick piece of wood is referred to as a beam. The Savior used these images to help us understand problems that arise when we judge others unrighteously or inappropriately find fault with them. Read 3 Nephi 14:3–5, and think about what the mote and beam represent.
In your scripture study journal, draw a picture of what the Savior described in 3 Nephi 14:4. Then answer the following questions:
What do you think the mote represents?
What do you think the beam represents?
Why do you think the beam rather than the mote is used to represent the faults of those who judge unrighteously?
Notice that the Savior’s analogy focuses on objects that are lodged in the eye and, therefore, affect a person’s vision. Ponder the following questions about yourself: How can my faults affect the way I see others? How can I apply Jesus Christ’s counsel in 3 Nephi 14:5?
Do you think it is ever appropriate or necessary to make judgments regarding other people’s behavior? The Prophet Joseph Smith clarified that while we are not to judge others unrighteously, we are directed to use righteous judgment (see Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:1 [in Matthew 7:1, footnote a]).
The following explanation offers additional insight into the question of judging others: “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 you understand the importance of making righteous judgments, read 3 Nephi 14:6 and identify some judgments Jesus Christ instructed us to make. Before you read, it may be helpful to understand that to “give … that which is holy unto the dogs” and to “cast … pearls before swine” mean to share something that is sacred with those who will not appreciate it or understand its sacredness.
“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).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why is it important to make righteous judgments in areas such as choosing friends, deciding how we spend our time and money, or choosing an eternal companion? What might be some other instances where it would be necessary or appropriate to make judgments of others?
How can you judge more righteously? Ponder if there is anyone you could be more kind to or need to refrain from judging unrighteously.
Think about times when Heavenly Father has answered your prayers. Read 3 Nephi 14:7–11, and look for what Jesus Christ taught about Heavenly Father’s willingness to answer our prayers.
One principle we can learn from 3 Nephi 14:7–11 is that Heavenly Father will bless us if we ask and seek Him in prayer. How can knowing that Heavenly Father is eager to answer your prayers change the way you pray?
Ask a trusted adult the following question: When have you felt Heavenly Father’s love for you through the way He responded to your prayers? Summarize his or her answer and what you learned from it in your scripture study journal.
As the Savior continued to teach the Nephites gathered at the temple, He gave several analogies to help us understand the importance of obeying His teachings. Each analogy contains a good example and a bad example.
In your scripture study journal, draw a simple illustration of the good example and bad example found in each of the following three scripture passages. Also write down what you think the Savior wants us to learn by comparing the good and bad examples. Be prepared to show your pictures to your class and to explain what you learned from these analogies.
Read 3 Nephi 14:21–23, and think about what you might say to a person who told you that all you need to do to be saved in the kingdom of God is to say that you believe in Jesus Christ.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 14 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: