Gospel Doctrine, New Testament Lesson 14: “Who Is My Neghbor?”

I got to watch my niece play soccer yesterday, she’s 5 years old, will be 6 in a few months. It was the first time I have gotten to go to one of her games and it was fun to watch. I noticed most of the kids seemed to be unconcerned about outplaying the other team, in fact I saw one of the goalies at one point run off the field so she could go see her baby brother or sister and the coach had to remind her to come back on the field

*** The things they seemed to be most concerned about what whether they were kicking or throwing the ball right or if they were standing where their coach wanted them to stand and especially if their family was watching them, they would keep looking over to the sidelines to make sure their parents could see what they were doing. (There is a correlation with the message the Savior teaches about becoming like little children.)

→ Matt 18:1-4

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Q. Why were the disciples concerned about who would be the greatest?

Are we more concerned about a better church position or having a better car or a nicer house or boat, etc than our neighbor? Or are we more concerned how the Lord views us for who we are? Of course the Lord places high value on those who serve him faithfully, wherever we serve in the church, but he doesn’t seem to be as concerned with whether or not we’ve held high ranking positions, he’s more concerned with our willingness to follow his will– are we trusting and relying on him, are we humble and submissive?

→ Matt 18:6

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

– Pres. Hinckley on protecting children:

“My plea-and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it-is a plea to save the children. Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair. Children need sunlight. They need happiness. They need love and nurture. They need kindness and refreshment and affection. Every home, regardless of the cost of the house, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation.”

“…In terms of physical abuse, I have never accepted the principle of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ I will be forever grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them and to give them encouragement in achieving it.

– In verse 6 there seems to be a distinction made when it says “who believe in me”
Q. Why is this distinction made?

→ D&C 121:16-19

“Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the bchildren of disobedience themselves. And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage and death— Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house.”

Christ’s children include all of his humble followers, the prophets, his servants, his saints. Just as cruelty to innocent little children is offensive to the Lord, so it is offensive to him when his faithful saints (his children) are falsely accused, maliciously treated, or more commonly, led astray with false teachings.

→ Mathew 18:21-22

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

– In the Savior’s time, the Rabbis taught that no one was under obligation to forgive a neighbor more than three times. Peter her is asking the Master for a ruling on that question, and suggested that seven times would be a good improvement on the rule of the Jewish teachers, but our Lord answered, ‘seventy times seven’.

Q. Does this mean we keep a spreadsheet? (We must always forgive.)

– Corrie ten Boom, a devout Dutch Christian woman …was interned in concentration camps during World War II. She spent a great deal of her life after the war working with those who had been in these camps and suffered the cruelties there, helping them to forgive their captors. Those who did not forgive she says, often lived as invalids, didn’t leave their house much and didn’t do much with their lives. Those who were able to forgive were more likely to live somewhat normal lives in spite of all they had been through.

She suffered greatly, but unlike her beloved sister Betsie, who perished in one of the camps, Corrie survived.

After the war she often spoke publicly of her experiences and of healing and forgiveness. On one occasion a former Nazi guard who had been part of Corrie’s own grievous confinement in Ravensbrück, Germany, approached her, rejoicing at her message of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

“‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’

“His hand was thrust out to shake mine,” Corrie recalled. “And I, who had preached so often … the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. … Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

“I tried to smile, [and] I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

“As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

The Savior teaches us to love thy neighbor as thyself, I know that they way we can do that is to be humble, forgiving, and charitable. Its only through the Savior’s love and grace that we can and are enabled to do this throughout our lives.


2 thoughts on “Gospel Doctrine, New Testament Lesson 14: “Who Is My Neghbor?”

  1. Wouldn’t we all be much happier if we could walk through life with childlike innocence and joy? I know it is possible. It just takes looking at life a little differently.
    Thank you so much for stopping by Tovarysh!!

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