10 September 2021

"...ye shall not resist evil,..."

In this time of dubious justifications for dwindling liberties and forced compliance, it is good to recall Christ's teachings on such times as these. I take some excerpts from the retelling of the Sermon on the Mount to those in America in the Book of Mormon, but the concepts are the same as those found in the biblical Book of Matthew.

3 Nephi 13:25 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 prison.

Christ doesn't want us to do jail-time that we may not escape.  Although a few of his servants were cast into prison, it is not something he wants for us.  We are to comply with our adversaries to avoid incarceration. Note the use of the word "adversary" - we are not to join the other side, only to work together as partners when it is advantageous. Don't make others destroy you as you can't preach to the living if you are dead.

3 Nephi 13:30 For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.

Though we may feel set upon or treated unfairly, we remember Jesus and how he persevered in the face of injustice. Fighting for one's rights is likely to land us in hell for our unrighteous actions, for the ends often do not justify unrighteous means. The killing of innocent combatants to get to an evil leader may still require some eternal payment. The cross is the symbol of punishment misapplied in Christ's case and a physical proof that even when faced with tyranny, we will continue to be obedient to the Lord's commandments and our covenants with God.

3 Nephi 13:39 But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, ...

In the end, evil reveals our true intentions.  Will we follow Christ in all things, or will we throw him aside when difficulties and rationalizations come?

In spite of lies and confusion all around us, Christ tells us to continue to look to him.  Our mission in life is not to destroy evil but to individually overcome evil as he did and not to be individually overcome by evil. As we retain our faith and hope in the promises of Jesus in spite of a sinful world, we will be victorious in our own lives and be another example to others on how to overcome and gain the real victory.