Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models 
Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
Chapter 6 – Bullying 
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5shapeimage_2_link_6shapeimage_2_link_7shapeimage_2_link_8shapeimage_2_link_9
Chapter 9 – Chastity
Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
Chapter 15 – The Sabbath
Chapter 16 – PornographyChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlChapter_16.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2shapeimage_3_link_3shapeimage_3_link_4shapeimage_3_link_5shapeimage_3_link_6shapeimage_3_link_7shapeimage_3_link_8shapeimage_3_link_9
Chapter 17 – The Media 
Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
Chapter 19 – Responsibility
Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – Consecration
PDF VersionChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.html

The Temptation to Beat People Up

The Temptation to Remind People Over and Over of What They Did Wrong

The Temptation to Rub People’s Nose in the Fact that They Were Wrong

What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces,

and grind the faces of the poor?

     Saith the Lord GOD of hosts.  

(Isaiah 3:15)

     What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces - This phrase can mean several things.  It can mean beating people up so badly that their bones have been broken in pieces.  Some people do this to get what they want out of someone.  Others do it because it makes them feel powerful.  Whatever the reason, it is obvious from Isaiah that the Lord doesn’t approve. 

     Another thing “beat my people to pieces” can mean is spiritual abuse, like reminding people over and over of the things they did wrong after they’ve already repented of it.  What it amounts to is beating up their conscience when the Atonement of Christ has already healed their conscience.  How do you know that they’ve repented and that their conscience has been healed?  “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43).  Doctrine and Covenants 58:42 says in particular, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”  If the Lord forgives and forgets once someone has repented, do we have any right to remember, let alone remind them of it?  Of course not! 

     What mean ye that ye . . . grind the faces of the poor - You know what I think of when I hear that phrase “grind the faces of the poor”?  Besides the poor who don’t have money it could also mean the poor in heart who are humble enough to admit they have made a mistake.  When we rub someone’s nose in the fact that they were wrong, isn’t that like grinding their faces in the dirt?  What should we do instead?  If we find ourselves in a situation where someone is admitting that we were right and they were wrong, we need to be graceful about it and refrain from saying those certain four words – “I told you so”.  When you are graceful about being right, people will not mind admitting you are right, because they will know that you will spare their feelings. 

Another way we grind the faces of the poor is when we make jokes at another person’s expense.  It’s also when we make jokes about something foolish someone else did when they are trying to recover from it.  It doesn’t matter that it is just a joke.  To the person who is on the receiving end it hurts, even if they have a sense of humor.  They may be laughing outside, but inside they might be crying. 

The Temptation to Put People Down

The Temptation to Take Advantage of the Weak

     Here we have Isaiah’s record of the King of Assyria boasting about his little spree of conquest.

For he saith,

     By the strength of my hand I have done it,

     and by my wisdom;

     for I am prudent:

          and I have removed the bounds of the people,

          and have robbed their treasures,

          and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:

(Isaiah 10:13)

     I have removed the bounds of the people – When we invade people’s personal space in the most uncomfortable manner we are just like the wicked King of Assyria.  Removing the bounds of the people could also be interpreted as violating other people’s rights while enforcing your own.  A teenage example of this is when you insist that no one touch your stuff or come in your room, but you yourself go into everyone else’s room and touch and take anything you fancy.

     I. . .have robbed their treasures - Robbing people’s treasures is taking their things without permission.  Like when you see that your little brother has a cool cd and you abscond with it to try it out.  This kind of thing happened a lot at my house when I was growing up.  All of us kids would do it to each other from time to time.  Why is this bullying?  When you do it, it violates a person’s right to have control of their own property and secure their stuff.  It is especially bullying when you do it with the unspoken argument that might makes right.  “I’m bigger than you.”  “You can’t stop me.”

     I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man - This guy thought being able to put people down made him a tough guy.  Today we may not physically put people down by crushing them into the concrete, but it is pretty common to put people down with insults in all kinds of witty ways.  But putting someone down does not demonstrate that we are valiant, wise, or prudent.  On the contrary, it demonstrates that we are so unskilled at dealing with people that we feel threatened by them.  It shows that the only way we know of dealing with our own fears is by attacking someone else with our words.

     You may put down others just because the chance to do it comes up in everyday conversation when someone else does something a little foolish.  My little sister once told me how she was worried that she was becoming too witty at other people’s expense.  She said, “I don’t intend to be mean, but people say things that leave themselves wide open for me to slam them!  My mind thinks of something brilliant and scathing to say at lightning speed, and then it just seems to pop out of my mouth, and then I’m pleased that I said something clever, but I’m also terribly ashamed that I said something so mean, because I’m not that kind of person!”   (She remembers what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that sort of thing, you see.)  I told her that she needed to start being extremely careful about what she said, because if she wasn’t she would become that kind of mean person, simply from exercising that “mean muscle” too much.

     In contrast to the “kill-or-be-killed” and “insult-or-be-insulted” ways of the world, the Lord wants us to restrain ourselves from taking advantage of other people’s moments of weakness.  Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would set the example of how to do this.

  A bruised reed shall he not break,

and the smoking flax shall he not quench:

he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.(Isaiah 42:3)

     The “bruised reed” symbolizes people whose spirits are already bent and about ready to break if they are whacked around any more.  The “smoking flax” symbolizes people whose flame of self-respect has been dampened and smothered so much already by ill treatment that it is about to go out if someone says or does anything additionally mean to them.  By treating these people kindly, the Lord was showing us the right way to act.

     As we become better at restraining ourselves from taking advantage of other people’s weaknesses, we will become more like Zion and more worthy of the celestial kingdom where

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

and a little child shall lead them.

7 And the cow and the bear shall feed;

their young ones shall lie down together:

and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,

and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

(Isaiah 11:6-9)

     These predatory animals that no longer eat other animals can be symbolic of how people will no longer attack each other with their mouths, or with the words that come out of their mouths.  Everyone will know about the Lord’s way of doing things, and so they will treat everyone else how the Lord would have people treated.  Just like the asp won’t come out to poison the child, the sarcastic person won’t say things to poison the enjoyment of the enthusiast.  Just like wolf packs will dwell peaceably with lambs, people won’t gang up on the new kid on the block.  Just like the calf and the bear cub will be able to sit next to each other, people with totally different backgrounds will be able to intermingle without one attacking the other.  In the story I told you about my sister, she was afraid of turning into some sort of lioness who would always be sinking the teeth of her wit into those verbally weak or infirm.  She didn’t want to be that way; she wanted to be kind, and she knew how she should treat people.  

The Temptation to Think that You Can Set Traps for People Without Being Trapped Yourself

The Temptation to Bother Those You Find Annoying

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary;

     but for a stone of stumbling

     and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel,

     for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15       And many among them shall stumble,

     and fall,

     and be broken,

     and be snared,

     and be taken.

(Isaiah 8:14-15)

     First of all, these verses testify of Christ.  From the perspective of the chief priests and Pharisees and scribes and lawyers, Christ was highly inconvenient to have around.  After all, he preached against them.  So they tried to trap him.  They got people to ask Him tricky questions to try and trip Him up in His doctrine.  But it didn’t work, and each time they got tripped up instead.  They got one of His own disciples to betray Him, and in doing so, they betrayed themselves over into the hands of the devil.

     One lesson we can gain is that when you try to trap people, that means that the devil has already trapped you.  When you try to trip people up to make them stumble, the devil has already tripped you and made you stumble spiritually.  When you try to make others fall into temptation, you’ve already fallen into Satan’s temptations.

     Another lesson is that Christ was a test to the people of His day to see whether they would accept Him or reject Him for who He was.  He’s the Rock, the firm foundation to build upon, and they tripped and fell over Him, because He was in their way.  Some accepted Him, but many rejected Him. If that was the case, maybe some of those people in our lives whom we don’t think much of were put into our lives as a test of our charity, to see whether we could be kind to them or not.  (If we have no problem being kind to the least popular people, we would have had no problem being kind to the Savior himself if we had lived in His day.)  If we’re kind to them, we pass the test, and many times we may discover that they are really cool people and that they make great friends with whom we can find sanctuary.

     This happened to me once.  There was a boy named Nathaniel in some of my classes in junior high school that people teased a lot, because he was a little pudgy and he seemed a little more nerdy.  In high school, I got to know him and I discovered that he was really fun to be around.  He became one of my good friends with whom I would hang out in free moments at school.  (And it was interesting; once I had made friends with him, people stopped teasing him.)

The Temptation to Be Mean to Someone Because You See Other People Being Mean to Them

The Temptation to Judge People By The World’s Standard and Not By The Lord’s Standard

     The situation was this - when I first met Nathaniel, I found myself in new surroundings with a new peer group, all of whom seem to already know each other.  I watched as everyone joined together to pick on him.  They spoke scornfully to him and of him.  I hadn’t a clue as to why they did this, but I thought to myself, “There must be a good reason for everybody treating Nathaniel like this; I probably just don’t know what it is yet.”  It was too easy to decide to do what everybody else did and treat him the same way.  Again, it took me years to find out that Nathaniel was really very nice and fun to be with.

     In contrast to this scenario in which I foolishly took my cue from others on how to treat Nathaniel, the following verses describe how Christ decides how to treat a person:

2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:

     and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,

     neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

4         But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,

          and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:

               and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,

               and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

(Isaiah 11:2-4)

     Christ doesn’t decide how to treat a person based upon the treatment He sees them receiving and He doesn’t decide based upon the things he hears other people say about them.  He spiritually discerns how to treat them.

     If we want to become like God, we need to learn how to form our own ideas of what a person is like by adhering to spiritual principles, without allowing anyone else to bias us against them.  While Christ has the ability to discern the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart, the rest of us have to rely upon conversation with a person and observing them and their actions in order to learn what they are like.  We can also sense what kind of spirit they radiate.

     [W]ith righteousness shall he judge the poor - The Lord judges people by a righteous standard.  If we want to be like God, then we must learn to judge people by a righteous standard too.  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  (John 7:24)  Just for fun, I’m going to list for you some ways of categorizing people, and I’ll bet you can easily pick out which ways are part of a righteous standard and which are not.

cool vs. uncool

insulting vs. complimenting

male vs. female

discouraging vs. encouraging

pretty or handsome vs. ugly or plain

kind vs. unkind

thin vs. fat

selfish vs. selfless

smart vs. stupid

hypocritical vs. valiant

backstabbing vs. loyal

rich vs. poor

humble vs. proud

fun vs. boring

overbearing vs. meek

quiet vs. talkative

potty mouth vs. clean speech

forgiving vs. vindictive and grudging

tall vs. short

warmonger vs. peacemaker

old vs. young

degrading vs. inspiring

     [A]nd he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth – This shows us that after the Lord makes a judgment about what is being said, he speaks out and chastises the bullies.  We can be like Christ by speaking out and telling others to be nice and by bringing to their attention good things about the person who is being bullied or made fun of or harassed. 

The way of the just is uprightness:

thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.

(Isaiah 26:7)

I have to point out some clever little literary things in this single verse.  First, it is a lovely chiasmus, with “ thou” (meaning God) right at the middle point of emphasis.

the way of the just

     is uprightness


     most upright

dost weigh the path of the just

     Secondly, the use of the homophones “way” and “weigh” by whoever translated the verse into English was a cute touch.

     As for the meaning of the verse, it is saying that we (who are supposed to be just) will be judged by God, and He will weigh on the scales of justice how justly and righteously we have judged.  (Yikes!)  So if we’re going to judge righteous judgments we can’t be part-of-the-way righteous, we have to be all-the-way righteous and not pick and choose whom we judge.  That means we have to be willing to judge ourselves by righteous standards, not just others, and be willing to convict ourselves of the sins we discover we have committed.  And what happens when we discover we’ve committed a sin?  Then we can repent of it, and that becomes one less thing for which the Lord will judge us!

     I’ll give you an example.  As my husband and I were in the church parking lot, about to walk in to sacrament meeting, my husband got really interested in someone’s new car that he saw.  He had to walk around it and see what it was and look inside through the window.  While he did this, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, he is not as focused as he ought to be on the prospect of taking the sacrament and renewing his covenants with the Lord.  That is not right.”  And then the Spirit reminded me how often I had gone to the temple and had spent more time being interested in the temple dress styles I saw than in the temple ordinances themselves.  And I was immediately ashamed of myself.  I saw that I had to repent of my own sins first.

  The Temptation to Gossip About Others

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed,

on Egypt;

whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it:

so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

(Isaiah 36: 6)

     This verse contains what the ambassadors of Assyria said to the Jews about the Jews’ allies, the Egyptians, while the Assyrians were attempting to conquer Judah as they had them holed up in Jerusalem.  The Assyrian strategy was to badmouth the Jews’ allies in order to make the Jews feel isolated, alone, and vulnerable, so that they would give in.  It was gossiping, on the international scale.  (“France said that Germany said that they saw Russia trading with Cuba after you told them not to!”   “*gasp* No!  You’re kidding!”)

     Gossip is injustice, because it is an attempt to accuse someone to others and convict them of a crime when they are not around to defend themselves.  If this were done in court, it would unfair and unjust, so what makes us think we have the right to do it at all?

     Gossip is also cowardly by its very definition, because it is someone saying behind someone else’s back what they are afraid to say to their face.  Of what are they afraid?  They are afraid of being proven unjust by the person about whom they gossip!

     In contrast, read again the following scripture, which testifies of what Christ would do:

A bruised reed shall he not break,

and the smoking flax shall he not quench:

he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

(Isaiah 42:3)

     Now, the “bruised reed” can symbolize a person’s reputation as it is battered by gossip, which the Lord would refrain from breaking completely.  As for “the smoking flax shall he not quench”, one reason people give for passing on rumors and gossip is “where there is smoke, there must be fire”.  The Lord won’t control what people do, because that would be taking away people’s agency; He can’t quench the smoke of gossip, but he can and will “bring forth judgment unto truth”, which is to say, he will get to the real story and spread that instead.

The Temptation to Make Fun of Everything

Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong:

     for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption,

     even determined upon the whole earth.

(Isaiah 28:22)

     Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong - This is a pretty simple message.  Isaiah is saying “be ye not mockers, lest the habit become too strong to break”.  And it is true; making fun of things can become a strong habit of thought.  I’ve been in the habit myself at one time and it was hard to break out of it, because when I tried, I had to struggle against feelings that things wouldn’t be nearly as fun.  However, I was determined to break the habit since I could sense that I wasn’t getting as much out of spiritual things as I might otherwise.  Happily, it turned out that my fears of not having fun anymore were groundless, because I found plenty of healthy humor to laugh at.

     [F]or I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth - What happens when we get in the habit of making fun of everything?  It makes it so that we have a hard time taking anything seriously, even if it is warnings from the prophets and calls to repentance.  If we are making fun of someone who is trying to warn us, are we listening to their message with the intent to obey?  Hmmmm, probably not.  So, an attitude of mockery is not conducive to repentance.  The more we mock, the less we repent, and the less we repent, the more sins accumulate on our conscience, and the more sins we accumulate, the riper we become for a consuming destruction, or a “consumption” from the Lord.  

The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while:

our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

(Isaiah 63:18)

     [O]ur adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary - The other problem with mocking everything is that you end up mocking things that are sacred, like the temple.  That’s just like stamping something special down in the mud.

     There’s another thing we have to remember in this discussion of treading down or mocking other people’s temples and sanctuaries, and that is we aren’t the only people that hold certain things sacred.  Other religions do too, and it’s not nice to make fun of other religions’ beliefs.  (“Play nice with the Muslims, Jimmy...”)

     Another temple that people tend to tread down a lot and speak slightingly of is the temple of our bodies.  Some laugh at other people’s bodies, others mock their own bodies so that that others won’t mock them.  That’s not right, is it?  “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). 

The Temptation to Make Fun of Everyone

Against whom do ye sport yourselves?

against whom make ye a wide mouth,

and draw out the tongue?

     are ye not children of transgression,

     a seed of falsehood,

(Isaiah 57: 4)

     Against whom do ye sport yourselves? - Do you ever go and bother someone just for fun?  Isn’t that like making a sport out of being mean?  Some people may treat it like it is an Olympic sport in which they intend to get a gold medal, but you can be sure that it’ll never be a celestial sport.

     [A]gainst whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? - If Isaiah isn’t talking about sticking your tongue out at people, I give up.

     [C]hildren of transgression, a seed of falsehood - This is Isaiah’s name for a child of the devil.  It makes sense when you realize that the devil is the father of transgression and falsehoods.  “. . .whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.”  (Alma 5:41)

     The main idea of this whole verse is important.  Isaiah says in effect “Do you realize that when you make fun of somebody, you make fun of a child of God?  If you make fun of a child of God, doesn’t that make you a child of the devil?”  (Really, who else, besides the children of the devil, make fun of the children of God?)

     During the years I was in junior high school, I had one or two friends that were members of the church who were my age, and we did stuff together for a few months, and then for some reason they turned against me and made a point of mocking and harassing me.  It really bothered me, and I would cry over it at home.  My mom told me that those girls were cultivating the spirit of apostasy within themselves and that she foresaw that they would go inactive if they continued treating me the way they were.  Time passed and I forgot what she said.  By the end of my high school career, I marveled to my mother that even though I started Young Women with 5 or 6 other girls, only 1 or 2 of them were still coming to church.  Then she reminded me of her old prediction that the girls who had made fun of me would go inactive, and it was true; they had.

     We know we are spirit children of God, but if we are to become children of God physically as well, we need to keep the commandment to love others.  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  (John 13:34)  I have a testimony that loving others causes us to become the children of Righteousness instead of “children of transgression”, and we are literally transformed by the Holy Spirit into seed of Truth, instead of “seed of falsehood”.  In short, little by little we become holy, like God is holy.

     So what have we learned from Isaiah about how we’re supposed to treat others? 

  1. 1)We’re supposed to forgive and forget just like the Lord does

  2. 2)We’re supposed to refrain from taking advantage of other people’s weakness

  3. 3)We’re tested on how kind we will be to unpopular people

  4. 4)We need to find out for ourselves what people are like and not judge by what everyone says.

  5. 5)The Lord will judge how we have treated others, and He will judge how we have judged others. 

  6. 6)We shouldn’t gossip about others.

  7. 7)The Lord will get to the truth of gossip.

  8. 8)Making fun of things can become a habitual frame of mind if we’re not careful

  9. 9)If you make fun of a child of God you transform yourself into a child of the devil.  On the other hand, if you have love towards everyone, you transform yourself even more into a child of God

Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
 Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models 
 Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting 
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
 Chapter 6 – Bullying 
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2shapeimage_6_link_3shapeimage_6_link_4shapeimage_6_link_5shapeimage_6_link_6shapeimage_6_link_7shapeimage_6_link_8shapeimage_6_link_9
 Chapter 9 – Chastity
 Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
 Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
  Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
 Chapter 15 – The SabbathChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0shapeimage_7_link_1shapeimage_7_link_2shapeimage_7_link_3shapeimage_7_link_4shapeimage_7_link_5shapeimage_7_link_6shapeimage_7_link_7shapeimage_7_link_8
 Chapter 16 – Pornography 
 Chapter 17 – The Media
 Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
 Chapter 19 – Responsibility
 Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
 Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – ConsecrationChapter_16.htmlChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5shapeimage_8_link_6shapeimage_8_link_7shapeimage_8_link_8