Jesus Taught People Skills on the Mount

by | Sep 25, 2020

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Highlights for 3 Nephi 12-16

The promises and advice from Christ directly to us (found in 3 Nephi) are powerful, essential reminders of the gospel standards we strive for. What caught my attention this time around, was how many verses dealt with how to interact with other people. In fact, these verses could very well be, a goal list for me.

Character Traits to Develop

And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (3 Nephi 12:7)

Just exactly what is “merciful”? Well, a few words that fit well are compassionate, forgiving, magnanimous and benevolent.

benevolent: big-hearted, helpful, generous
magnanimous: generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness

Incidentally, these are some of my all-time favorite people characteristics – you know, the people we end up loving and admiring the most?

And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (3 Nephi 12:9)

The ability to influence peace and calm is a notable quality. Could we use more peacemakers in the year 2020? (Most likely, we have never needed them more!)

Difficult People

Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into [social] prison. (3 Nephi 12:25)

First of all, I fully appreciate Jesus acknowledging that life comes equipped with adversarial people. Especially when the Bible documents plenty of His own encounters with them. Second, some of the best advice ever for human relations is simply don’t engage. As in, don’t get into altercations to begin with. Nothing is gained and your peace is lost. Sometimes, I call this “the art of not picking it up.”

Highly Recommended: If you would like suggestions for how not “to pick it up” in difficult, emotionally-charged moments – click the article below and scroll to the end. You’ll find “4 Peace-making Responses for Difficult Situations.

23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—
24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.
(3 Nephi 12:23-24)

Reconciliation is probably one of the toughest things to do! Yet…one of the most liberating and empowering. What relationship of yours needs to be repaired now? What needs closure?

44 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;
45 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.
(3 Nephi 12:44-45)

This is, without a doubt, the pinnacle of sainthood. When I’m at the tip-top of my spiritual capacity, I am able to do this. Though, admittedly, even then it takes me a while to get there. I have learned I can be civil, neutral and even kind with difficult people. Not only does it take less time and energy, the result is peace and a lighter heart as I walk away.

The Savior was the ultimate example of loving and forgiving enemies as he hung on the very cross he could have easily come down from.

Stand Out & Shine

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(3 Nephi 12:14-16)

What gift, passion or talent do you need to give more energy and light to? You are so needed! Practice makes progress. Perchance, give yourself permission to create and to grow.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor [strength and testimony] wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing [or commonplace], but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men [in other words, assimilated into the sheep herd]. (3 Nephi 12:13)

Now, when I eat a steak or a baked potato, salt makes a BIG difference in how good they taste. Yet, the amount of salt actually on my plate, compared to the rest of the food is very small. Likewise, the number of people the Savior has, who will stand up, who will make a difference and who are the strong seasoning of gospel light for the rest of the world are also quite small.

So, the big question is…are you salt?


As I read through these verses, it is immediately obvious to me where I need to reach higher. Of all the things the Savior could have said in his short time with the Nephites, this is what he chose to teach them and what he chose for us to read in our time. Maybe choose one verse, the one that is calling to you the most? And, let it work its miracles on you!

Timshel! Which is Hebrew for “thou mayest” (rise and accomplish anything).

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