CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 14.
Compare to Matthew 7.
In this chapter, the Savior continues his discourse. He reminds us to be careful in judging others, for we will be judged by the same standards (verse 1). What we give to the world is what we will get back (verse 2).
If we want to judge others harshly, we will be harshly perceived by others as harsh. If we want to give off negativity, and bitterness, and ugliness, the world will be a mean and unhappy place for us.
On the other hand, if we extend mercy to others, we will find ourselves at peace with them. If we look for the good things in others, and enjoy the little moments, we will experience life as a happy and joyful unfolding.
We should focus on our own weaknesses instead of the weak spots in the lives of others (verse 3). Only after we have done the work on ourselves (verse 4) are we able and free to help others work on certain areas in their lives (verse 5). Even then, we cannot help those who are not ready to accept help or those who are not willing to make changes to progress (verse 6).
But if we ourselves want to progress, we only need to ask what His will is, study the scriptures and the words of the prophet to understand how to align ourselves with His will, and then try to align ourselves more with Him (verse 7). We only need to look to the Savior, to reach out to Him. He has promised to rescue us (verse 8). He has provided us with the atonement (bread) (verse 9) and the example and words of Christ (fish/nourishment) (verse 10). These are the good gifts He has promised, which His Spirit does deliver to us (verse 11). This is why we have the law and the words of the prophets: not to earn Heaven, but to learn it (verse 12); not to impede our progress, but provide the path for our progress (verses 13-14).
Few will find the way (verse 14), which means many will think we are wrong or confused or lost. We must beware those who try to distract us, delay us, disqualify us, or cause us to despair (see Sister Dalton’s talk from October 2011 General Conference). These encounters may seem innocent enough, but are set about to destroy us (verse 15).
We can know the difference by the evidence. Grapes do not produce thorns, and figs do not make thistles (verse 16). “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (verse 17). So we look at the evidence to see if those around us are bringing us closer to God by being peacemakers full of love and striving for joy and finding happiness in life – and so are life-giving friends for us? Or are those around us angry and bitter, or stalling and slow, regressing or retreating, or causing us to become any of those things? Are they creating life through peace and joy with positive and happy interactions, or are they destroying it by trauma-drama or spirit-crushing or calculated apathy?
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit… wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them (verses 18, 20).
So if it is good, even if it is different from us or new to us or not-as-far-along-as-us, it is still good, and so it is of God (the good pieces are of God).
If it is evil, then it is not of God.
If there are pieces of truth, then those pieces of truth are of God.
If the person is obedient, or doing good things, or in-process-of-becoming, then that is someone doing “the will of my Father who is in heaven” (verses 21, 24).
This is wisdom, to choose to return to our Father’s presence someday by choosing now to do what He says (verse 24). This is how He teaches us who He is, what laws He lives by – including how He governs Himself and how He cares for others and everything else. It is not oppressive; rather, He is trying to set us free by graduating us from our weaknesses. He is showing us the way to be made strong.
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand – and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it (verses 25-27).
When life is hard (rains descended), or overwhelming (floods), or lonely (winds), we can still follow His example because by the atonement He did experience all these things. When the storms of life, enticings of temptation, or attacks of Satan come upon us, we can stand firm in the choice we have already made – our choice to follow the Savior. This is what keeps us strong; this is how He upholds us.
My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life. The Lord invites us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.”7 As we do so, we will feel His Spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness—to “stand … in holy places, and be not moved.”8 As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord’s precious promise to those who trust in Him: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”9
~ Thomas S. Monson, October 2011 General Conference