The divine counsel to us is to “say nothing to wound or grieve, except in necessary reproof of sin.” Review and Herald, October 16, 1883. “Last night I was in a sleepless state much of the time. Many representations passed before me. One was a scene in a council meeting where several were present. One man arose and began finding fault with one of his brethren. I looked at the speaker’s garments, and saw that they were very undesirable.
“Another person arose and began to state his grievance against a fellow laborer. His garments were of another pattern, and they, too, were undesirable. Still another, and yet another arose, and uttered words of accusation and condemnation regarding the course of others. Every one had some trouble to speak of, some fault to find with some one else. All were presenting the defects of Christians who are trying to do something in our world; and they declared repeatedly that certain ones were neglecting this or that or the other thing, and so on.
“There was no real order, no polite courtesy in the meeting. In their anxiety to speak, some crowded in while others were still talking. Voices were raised in an effort to make all hear above the din of confusion. The dress of the speakers was unbecoming and grotesque. This, I was shown, was a representation of defective character. When many had spoken, One of authority appeared, and repeated the words: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what judgment ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of tine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.’
“O, how can Christians afford to speak words of criticism and fault-finding,—words that stir up the worst passions of the human heart? The talent of speech is too precious a gift to be abused in this way. Let us refrain from uttering any words that would stir up a spirit of antagonism or retaliation. When irritated, let us remain silent.
“In this council meeting that I saw in the visions of the night, Christ Himself was present. An expression of pain came over His countenance as one after another would come forward, with uncouth dress, to expiate upon the faults of various members of the church.
“Finally the heavenly Visitant arose. So intent where those present on criticizing their brethren, that it was with reluctance that they gave Him opportunity to speak. He declared that the spirit of criticsm, of juding one another, is a source of weakness in the church today. Things are spoken that should never find utterance. Every one who by word of mouth places an obstruction in the way of a fellow Christian, has an account to settle with God.
“With earnest solemnity the Speaker declared: ‘The church is made up of many minds, each of whom has an individuality. I gave My life in order that men and women, by divine grace, might blend in revealing a perfect pattern of My character, while at the same time retaining their individuality. No one has the right to disparage the individuality of any other human mind, by uttering words of criticism and fault-finding and condemnation.’
“These words He repeated with solemn earnestness; and then He turned and grasped a standard, and held it aloft. From this standard, in burning letters, clear and distinct, gleamed God’s Law. The Speaker declared: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.’
“As the light from the uplifted standard flashed upon these men in council, they shrank from it as if it were a burning flame. Some prostrated themselves; some turned and went away.
“As I looked upon the scene, the names of the fault-finders appeared before them, and opposite each name were written out the faults of the erring one. None were free from defects of character. In the light of the uplifted standard, all were guilty. . . .
“All who love God supremely will love their neighbor as themselves. The keeping of the new commandment is to the believer a step heavenward. That which will give God’s people the supremacy is obedience to the injunction, ‘These things I command you, that ye love one another.’ ‘Neither pray I for these alone,’ Christ said, ‘but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’
“‘These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’” Review and Herald, September 20, 1906.
Inspired: Unless we live Christ’s life of obedience, our profession is worthless. Review and Herald, August 2, 1906.