“And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good” (NC 3 Nephi 5:13).
Denver Snuffer commentary:
Loving the ones you care for, associate with, and live nearby is sometimes easy. Hating those who show you disrespect or cause you injury is normal. Nevertheless, Christ teaches to love enemies, bless those who are trying to do you harm, and pray for your persecutors.
This is the only way to become like Him. He is an intercessor. As I’ve explained in The Second Comforter, becoming an intercessor for others is part of development, through grace, to become as He is. It is through this that charity becomes a part of your character. (Moro. 7: 46.) And charity is a necessary attribute in character. (2 Nephi 26: 30; Moro. 7:47.)
This treatment of enemies is how you prove your inner self. Only by suffering, do we learn if we are converted. If you receive only praise and adulation, authority and wealth, prestige and acceptance as a result of following Christ, then you’ve never been proven. It is through the sacrifice of your good name, reputation, position, wealth and social standing that you learn if you truly trust in Christ.
When you actually do sacrifice all earthly things for Him, you will have knowledge that the course of your life is pleasing to Him. Anything less than this will leave your mind in doubt. (See Lecture 6
If you follow this teaching by Christ, you will convert yourself first, then others. No-one can doubt the goodness of a life lived as this teaching commends. Though such a life may not convert others immediately, it will triumph.
Sometimes people die teaching the truth. They surrendered all they were on the altar, thereby coming to know God. This teaching would allow anyone to do the same. You would have to not only accept the idea, you would need to implement it
Abinadi returned to bear witness of the truth, and then die. Alma was his only convert. But from the moment of Alma’s conversion to the end of the Book of Mormon, every character who wrote in the plates descended from Abinadi’s single convert.Abinadi was a hinge character around whom the story of the Nephites would pivot from his life onward. But he had little success, and was killed by those to whom he ministered.
In some respects, dying for the cause of Christ is easier than living it. This teaching, however, shows how you can begin to live it.
It is not designed to be easy. As I discussed in Beloved Enos
, sometimes it takes quite a bit of effort to come to terms with what the Lord requires of us. But that does not alter in the least the importance of doing it, or lessen the quality of the results obtained.
Keep in mind the Lord’s admonition: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14: 15
Remember also the Lord’s statement that the things He is teaching “at this time” are necessary to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. (3 Nephi 12: 20
.) These are not just sayings. They are meant to be acted on. It is in the doing of them you will meet Him. When you descend below where you are at present, you will find the Lord. For He is condescending whenever He is seen.
Finally, Christ reminds us that the Lord blesses all with the sun, light, life and abundance. Both good and evil are blessed by Him. Therefore, the petty differences between the good and the bad are so insignificant when compared against an absolute standard of perfection that the relative goodness and relative badness is inconsequential. So inconsequential that for any of us to be redeemed will require the atonement. Therefore, we all owe everything to Him. Only the redeemed come to realize and accept that while here. Everyone will eventually grasp that reality.
Accepting Him is the means for healing us. His open invitation to all can be seen in the sun shining on “both the evil and on the good.” Everyone is bidden to come to the throne and receive healing, grace and forgiveness. To merit it, you must first give it. To obtain forgiveness you must give forgiveness. To have Him suffer for your sins, you must first suffer and forgive others of their sins committed against you.
Every balanced life surrenders claims for justice and shows mercy, thereby making a claim for themselves upon mercy
(Denver Snufffer Blog, “3 Nephi 12:43-45,” 10/16/2010)