When Jesus came to the Nephites do you think they were excited? Did they jump up and down and say, “Hurray hurray”? They did not. They did not even say hello. Instead, they fell flat on their faces and tried not to move. They were hiding like rabbits. And like rabbits their hearts were beating really fast and they were really nervous. Perhaps they were thinking, “If we don’t move, He won’t see us.” 

Now you might think that this is strange to try and hide from someone who is hovering above you, shining like the sun. Of course He will see you. It is very hard to hide from the sun, and much harder to hide from Jesus. But that is not the only thing that makes their hiding strange. The strangest thing is why would anyone want to hide from Jesus?

Well, it turns out they were hiding for the same reason that Laman and Lemuel hid from the tree, and Corianton hid from his father and brothers, and the Lamanites hid from the Nephites, and so on and so on. Because the Nephites and the Lamanites had a guilt complex. They worried and worried that they were not good enough. And now that Jesus had arrived, they could feel His light and love and goodness. And all of the fears they had carried on their backs for over 600 years were confirmed. Compared to Jesus they were no good at all. 

But of course, their hiding did not work. Jesus saw them and told them to stand and come to Him. And so the people stood but they could not look Jesus in the eyes. “Because,” they said, “we are not good like you.” 

And so Jesus taught them about being good. He said, “You are right. You are not good like me. The ten commandments say to not kill people, but to be good like me, you can’t even be mad at people. So good luck at never feeling mad or angry or even a little upset. I am sure you will fail. So if you are trying to be good like me, you should get used to failure because you will be doing it a lot. So stop comparing yourself to each other. Stop thinking that you are better or worse than your brothers or sisters or parents or friends or enemies. You are all bad and in all the worst ways.” 

This made the people very confused. “Wait,” the people said. “We’ve been told again and again that we are good and that we are supposed to be good. And we tried very hard to be good. And now you come and tell us we are not just bad, but really bad?”

“Yes,” Jesus laughed. “I was the one who told you you were good. And now I am the one telling you that you are bad. Because you are both. You are full top to bottom with the goodest good and the baddest bad. And that can be very confusing. You can want to be good but do bad and you can want to be bad and do good. And you are always wondering who you are—whether you are really good or really bad after all. Well, for now, you are both. And I am here to make you good. It will not be easy. And the only thing for sure is that you will fail. And like I said, you will fail a lot. So let’s start by talking about how to fail. Because that is what makes the difference.”  

“Because when you fail you have two options. Your first option is to be proud. This will make you embarrassed. It will make you want to hide like a rabbit under a bush. You will pretend that you have not failed because you will want to be perfect. But this will not work. And you will become more and more bad. 

“Your second option is to be meek. To be meek is to laugh at your mistakes, to stand up and apologize, and pray to God for forgiveness. To be meek is to not worry about being perfect. And when you don’t have to worry about being perfect, you can simply try to be good. And you will become more and more good. And when you are meek your goodness will shine like a candle on a candlestick. And it will help others to be meek, and gentle, and good too.”  

“And so be meek. Because meek people will inherit the earth. You might think you already live on the earth. But you have never seen the earth. Not the earth that God created. It is here, all around you. But you cannot see it. Not yet. First, you will need to be meek like me. And be meek with me. And I will make you better and better, until when I say, ‘you are good,’ it will describe every part of you. You will be filled, full, spouting, overflowing with goodness. Radiant, lovely, fragrant goodness. And then, we will go together to the gate of God. And He will see that you are good. And He will open the door to the world you have not seen.” 

“And when you enter, you will know you are home. Everything will be the same. The same home. The same streets. The same mountains. The same oceans, the same friends and family. And everything will be different. Brighter. Realer. Better. There are lions and sheep, but the lions do not eat the sheep and the sheep do not eat the grass. Everything and everyone is fed by the hands of God.” 

“There are baby sheep and baby lions and baby humans, but there is no death. Only life upon life upon life. The earth grows, expands, swells with the life and love of God. And God is there, in the earth. And you will know Him like you know your own parents. So pray to Him. Pray now. Don’t wait until you are perfect. Don’t wait until you are desperate. Don’t pray once a year or once in a while. Pray daily. And pray for daily things. Like food and water and forgiveness and help to forgive. And if you pray to God for simple things, He will feed you with His hands.”

All artwork by Lauren Blair.

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One thought on “The sermon about how to be good like Jesus instead of hiding like a rabbit (3 Nephi 12-16)

  1. Nice job, as always. This one had me thinking of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia book The Last Battle – “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

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