[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]
One brother said that he had been impatient, and had not kept up the family altar. He thought that his wife would now be in the faith had he set before her such an example as a Christian should. Another had cherished hard feelings against his brother, and he made this confession that the wound might be healed.” Review and Herald, October 28, 1884.
Neglect Not Duty
“Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., May 22, 1888.
“Suppose that one brother misjudges another. He might have had opportunity to learn whether his suspicions were well founded; but instead of waiting to do this, he repeats to others his surmisings. Thus evil thoughts are stirred in them, and the evil becomes wide-spread. And all the time the one pronounced guilty is not told of the matter; there is no investigation, no inquiry is made directly of him, so that he may have an opportunity either to acknowledge his fault or to clear himself from unjust suspicion. A serious wrong has been done him because his brethren had not the moral courage to go directly to him and talk with him freely in the spirit of Christian love. From all who have thus neglected their duty, confession is due; and none will shrink from it who deem it of any importance for them to seek to answer the prayer of Christ. . . . How can this prayer be answered by one who has wronged his brother, and whose heart is not softened by the grace of Christ so that he will make confession? How can his brethren, who know the facts, still have unshaken confidence in him, while he seems to feel no conviction of the Spirit of God? He is doing a wrong to the whole church, and especially if he occupies a position of responsibility; for he is encouraging others to disregard the word of God, to pass along with sins unconfessed. Many a one will say in heart, if not in words, ‘There is an elder of the church; he does not make confession of his errors, and yet he remains an honored member of the church. If he does not confess, neither will I. If he feels that it is perfectly safe for him not to show any contrition, I, too, will risk it.’ ” Ibid., December 16, 1890.
Sin Will Stand Until . . .
“There are sins and mistakes and errors to be confessed. The record has been made in the books of heaven, but when confession is made from contrite hearts, the words of the apostle are fulfilled, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ [1 John 1:9.] God requires repentance and confession, and restitution will always follow genuine repentance. If you have prevaricated, if you have borne false witness, if you have misjudged and misinterpreted your brother, if you have misstated his words, ridiculed him, if you have injured his influence in any way, go right to the persons with whom you have conversed about him, with whom you have united in this work, and take all your injurious misstatements back. Confess the wrong that you have done your brother; for your sin will stand charged against you in the books of record until you do all that lies in your power to correct the evil your words have wrought. When you have done all that God requires of you, pardon will be written against your name.” Ibid., May 28, 1889.
Stubbornness of Heart
“By repentance and confession you can have pardon registered against your name; or you can resist the conviction of the Spirit of God, and, during the rest of your life, work to make it appear that your wrong feelings and unjust conclusions could not be helped. But there stands the action, there stands the evil committed, there stands the ruin of those in whose hearts you planted the root of bitterness; there are the feelings and words of envy, of evil-surmising, that grew into jealousy and prejudice. All these testify against you.” Ibid., December 16, 1890.
“If you indulge stubbornness of heart, and through pride and self-righteousness do not confess your faults, you will be left subject to Satan’s temptations. If when the Lord reveals your errors you do not repent or make confession, his providence will bring you over the ground again and again. You will be left to make mistakes of a similar character, you will continue to lack wisdom, and will call sin righteousness, and righteousness sin. The multitude of deceptions that will prevail in these last days will encircle you, and you will change leaders, and not know that you have done so.” Ibid.
“You who have erred and have made crooked paths for your feet, so that others who look to you for an example have been turned out of the way, have you no confession to make? You who have sowed doubts and unbelief in the hearts of others, have you nothing to say to God or to your brethren? Review your course for years in the past, you who have not formed a habit of confessing your sins. Consider your words, your attitude, you whose influence has counteracted the message of the Spirit of God, you that have despised both the message and the messenger. After seeing the fruit borne by the message, what have you to say? Weigh your spirit, your actions, in the balance of eternal justice, the law of God: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, . . . and thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Mark 12:30, 31.] Unless your sins are canceled, they will testify against you at that day when every work shall pass in review before God.” Ibid.
An Appeal to the Churches
“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work.” Ibid., December 23, 1890.
“If we would offer acceptable prayer, there is a work to be done in confessing our sins to one another. If I have sinned against my neighbor in word or action, I should make confession to him. If he has wronged me, he should confess to me. So far as is possible, the one who has wronged another is to make restitution. Then in contrition he is to confess the sin to God, whose law has been transgressed. In sinning against our brother, we sin against God, and we must seek pardon from him. Whatever our sin, if we but repent and believe in the atoning blood of Christ, we shall be pardoned.” Ibid., February 9, 1897.
“Our names are registered as Christians. We go to the Lord’s table; we profess to be sons and daughters of God, members of the Lord’s family, children of the Heavenly King. But too often those who claim to love Jesus, deny him by their lack of confidence in one another. Too often evil is watched for, actions are viewed in the worst light, words are misconstrued and misinterpreted. Many talk earnestly about the faults of others, but their own faults trouble them little. If they would devote their voices to the confession of their own sins, it would be better. God knows the ways of his children. Every word, every thought, every motive, is open before the eyes of him who sees all things.” Ibid., April 27, 1897.
“Holiness to God through Christ is required of Christians. If there are wrongs in the church, they should receive immediate attention. Some may have to be sharply rebuked. This is not doing the erring one any wrong. The faithful physician of the soul cuts deep, that no pestilent matter may be left to burst forth again. After the reproof has been given, then comes repentance and confession, and God will freely pardon and heal. He always pardons when confession is made.” Ibid., December 11, 1900.
Act Your Part
“My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother’s sin that you are to confess, but your own.” Ibid., April 8, 1902.
“Those who have laid stumbling-blocks before the feet of the inexperienced, clouding with doubt the minds of those who have not a personal knowledge of the Lord’s dealing with his people in the past, can undo their work only by making their confession as broad as their influence for wrong has been, reaching all to whom, by their resistance of the Holy Spirit, they have brought uncertainty and confusion.” Ibid., June 3, 1902.
Words of Penitence
“On the day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed himself in power to the church. By his Holy Spirit he descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed, ‘Herein is love.’ 1 John 4: 10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed?—Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.” Ibid., January 13, 1903.
“We are living in the great day of atonement, when every person should confess his sins, that the conviction of the Spirit of God may come to his heart. If you think that there is something standing between you and God, go to him, and ask him to help you to make the confession necessary in order that the wrong, whatever may be its character, may be taken out of the way. And ask him to help you not to repeat the wrong.” Ibid., May 18, 1905.
“God will always accept confession, if the evil that has been done is repented of.” Ibid., May 31, 1906.
Repair the Evil
“I write plainly, in the hope that every effort may be made on the part of all to remove from them the frown of God. Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children, or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., November 19, 1914.
“The record of every life is written in the books of heaven. Every sin that has been committed is there registered. Every regret for sin, every tear of repentance, every confession of guilt, and the forsaking of every darling sin, is also recorded. When the judgment shall sit and the books are opened, every case will have to stand the test of the law of God. God has a law by which he governs intelligences both in heaven and in earth. Jehovah is the supreme Governor of nations, and no greater or more fatal deception could take hold on human minds than that which leads men to declare that the law of God has been abolished. Were this so there could be no judgment; for there would be no rule by which character could be tested, and actions weighed. But we read that the judgment is to sit, and that the books are to be opened, and that every man is to be rewarded according as his works have been. If God has no moral standard by which to measure character, there can be no judgment, no reward.” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895.
“Make confession to the ones you have injured. If others manifest wrong feelings toward you, or have injured you, carry them some token of regard. Tell them that you do not want anything of contention or division to exist between you; for this dishonors God. Then, tho you may not be able to soften the heart of the one who has wronged you, tho your kindness may be repulsed, you have done your duty, and God will bless you. He will give you His peace of mind and His grace. He will increase your trust in Him. Then you can bring your offering to God. Bring soul and voice and being to His altar, to be used to glorify Him, and He will accept the offering.” Ibid., March 15, 1899.
Forsake the Sin
“We must never forget that God ascribes sin to the one who transgresses; it is not registered against Satan, but against the sinner. God never accepts the agency of Satan as an excuse for the committal of one sin. When there is any excuse for a seemingly wrong act, it is not sin. Satan triumphs when he hears the professed follower of Christ offering excuses for his defects of character. Sin unrepented of, unconfessed, can never be blotted from the books of God’s record. Through faithful, thorough confession of sin, the heart is cleansed from its moral impurity. There must be a forsaking of the sins the Lord has reproved, before the soul can stand acquitted before God, humbled and repentant, realizing that he has served Satan, pleased him, glorified him, and dishonored his Lord.” Ibid., December 13, 1899.
“If a hasty word is spoken, take it [back] by confession as soon as possible, and heal the wound and keep in the sunshine and you will not only be happy yourselves, but be a blessing to others.—Letter 22, 1870, pp. 3–5. (To Edson and Emma White, December 16, 1870.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 297.
Spirit of God Insulted
“The words and actions of every one who took part in this work will stand registered against them until they make confession of their wrong. Those who do not repent of their sin will, if circumstances permit, repeat the same actions. I know that at that time the Spirit of God was insulted, and now when I see anything approaching to the same course of action, I am exceedingly pained. The people of God have had an opportunity to see what is the work these agents are doing, and yet those who are opposed to the points of truth which they brought out will, if occasion affords them a chance, make it appear that they are not in harmony with them, as much as to say, Beware of what they teach, for they carry matters to the extreme; they are not safe men.” Ibid., vol. 15, 83, 84.
“I have had to vindicate myself and my brethren, press with all my powers against the prejudice, unbelief, false statements and misrepresentations until it almost gives me a nervous chill to think of the blindness and unreasonable Phariseeism that has been adjusted as a garment about men in prominent positions. If they have changed their course of criticism and scattering the seeds of doubt and unsettling the confidence of the churches in the testimonies, I ask, who is the wiser for it? What confession and restitution and restoring of confidence have they done? Will the past be blotted out of the books of heaven where they are registered without one humiliation on their part for wounding and bruising the souls of God’s people by their jealousies, evil surmisings and opposition to that which is pure Bible truth, just because they were unwilling it should come from the source which the Lord chose to send it?” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 676, 677.
Do Not Censure Others
“You must confess your faults without censuring any other one.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 322.
“You have been very close with us in regard to your true feelings, but have sympathized with others, and expressed great dissatisfaction of James’ [White] course, and have received sympathy in return. Your manifesting so much suffering of mind has awakened strong sympathy in others, when you had no foundation for such feelings but your own imagination wrought upon by a tempting enemy. Your appearance has exerted the worst possible influence. If you had felt aggrieved, Bro. White was the one for you to have gone to and freely unburdened your mind to him, then you would have been convinced that your feelings arose from prejudice, misunderstanding, and misconstruction of his words. God’s frown is upon these things. That a company so closely connected in his work as Uriah [Smith], Harriet [Smith], and James, should be so exclusive and secretive as you have been. Those who labor together in that Office, their souls must be one, every separate interest should be laid aside, and they should have perfect confidence in each other, and perfect frankness and openness. And I saw that this must be so. Your influence has been against this. I saw that things in that Office must go forward with entirely different feelings and from different principles or God will have everything in that Office turned upside down. For months Harriet, you have felt wrong, acted wrong, spoken wrong, and been controlled by the enemy. You may call your feelings grief, but you have not realized your condition. You have at times manifested anger, and you have been selfish. The present truth has rested very lightly upon you, and selfishness has woven itself closely with nearly all you do. It is the natural besetment of your family, and it is a sin which God has rebuked them for, but which they would not confess. You have never realized it as it is. Your influence instead of strengthening and helping Uriah has hindered him, and planted in his breast feelings which would never have existed there if you had been consecrated to God. Your influence, appearance and actions have had just that strong influence on the wrong side that the Lord showed me two years ago that they would have, unless you stood in the counsel of God, consecrated to his service, with your judgment sanctified by his Spirit. Had you heeded the vision given you and Uriah two years ago you would have saved much; but you neglected all that light, chose your own views of matters, have been free to make confidants of those you should not, but have been very close and secretive to us, whom of all others you should confide in. This is the greatest injustice.” Pamphlet 016, 15–17.
God Wants to Save Us
“The Lord is anxious to save us. He is anxious that everything separating us from Him should be put away, that our hearts may beat in unison with heaven. It is time to be in harmony with God. Let us spend a little while in clearing the King’s highway. If we have been indulging in the sin of telling others’ faults, let us confess it before the Lord and before our brethren. When probation ends it will come suddenly, unexpectedly—at a time when we are least expecting it. But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us; and finally, if faithful, we shall be gathered into the kingdom of heaven.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 378.
“In Oakland, in Battle Creek, and in other places where the deep movings of the Spirit of God have been felt, the people confessed their sins, and made restitution for their wrongs. The servants of God desired to make clean work for eternity. They confessed their jealousies, evil-speaking, mur-murings, and uncleanness. They desired to have Jesus dwell in their souls, but he can never abide in hearts that are full of uncleanness. We must brush out the corners with the dust-brush. We must not hide our evils. Of course we should not expose evils to the public that are matters to be confessed to God alone. But while it is a disgrace to sin, it is no disgrace to confess sins. I entreat you, Do not rest until your souls stand free before God. You may have ten-fold more success in influencing others than you have had in the past.” Review and Herald, March 12, 1889.
Pastor Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life Ministry and pastor of the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: email@example.com or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.