[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.”]
1 What should we do if someone has wronged us?
“Let us take the words of Christ. If the man has done you an injury, go to him, and between you and him alone seek to set the matter right. Do not go to any one but himself. If he refuses to hear you, then take two or three others, and go to him again; but do not publish it in the church or out of the church. When you have done your duty, if he still refuses to hear you, then let the church take it up; but let them deal gently with the erring. Do not even listen to the gossiping tongue. If one comes to you with an evil report, ask him if he has been to the offending brother, as the Bible directs. If he has not, refuse even to hear him. Nine-tenths of the church trials might be avoided, if all would, in the spirit of kindness and love, pursue the course marked out by Inspiration. This can only be done by breaking down everything like a spirit of self-righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1887.
2 Whose name are we pledged to protect?
“Only that which is pure and lovely and of good report is it safe for us to follow. Human beings are under the most sacred obligations to God to be holy and uncorrupted; for they have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. By their baptismal vows they are solemnly pledged to do nothing which will bring an evil report upon the Christian name. Before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the professing Christian pledges himself to discourage pride, covetousness, unbelief. And as the true Christian seeks to fulfill this pledge, he grows in self-distrust. Constantly he places more dependence upon God. His reverence and love for the Saviour continually increase, and he is a living witness for his Master. He realizes what it means to be a child of God. He has a realizing sense that the cleansing blood of Christ secures for him pardon and elevation of character. In spirituality he grows like the lofty cedar. Daily he holds communion with God, and he has a treasure-house of knowledge from which to draw. He is mighty in the knowledge of the Scriptures. His fellowship is with the Father and the Son, and he knows more and still more of the divine will. He is filled with a constantly increasing love for God and for his fellowmen.” Medical Ministry, 127, 128.
3 What created the frenzy that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus?
“I [Ellen White] had been, during the forty-five years of experience, shown the lives, the character and history of the patriarchs, and prophets, who had come to the people with messages from God, and Satan would start some evil report, or get up some difference of opinion or turn the interest in some other channel, that the people should be deprived of the good the Lord had to bestow upon them. . . . I could but have a vivid picture in my mind from day to day of the way reformers were treated, how slight difference of opinion seemed to create a frenzy of feeling. Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. All this had passed before me point by point.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 121.
4 What feelings are we not to allow to arise?
“Our ministering brethren are too often imposed upon by the relation of trials in the church, and they too frequently refer to them in their discourses. They should not encourage the members of the church to complain of one another, but should set them as spies upon their own actions. None should allow their feelings of prejudice and resentment to be aroused by the relation of the wrongs of others; all should wait patiently until they hear both sides of the question, and then believe only what stern facts compel them to believe. At all times the safe course is not to listen to an evil report until the Bible rule has been strictly carried out. This will apply to some who have worked artfully to draw out from the unsuspecting, matters which they had no business with and which would do them no good to know.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 96, 97.
5 What is our moral obligation in regard to our countenance?
“While we are exhorted not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, these assemblies are not to be merely for our own refreshing. We are to be inspired with greater zeal to impart the consolation we have received. It is our duty to be very jealous for the glory of God and to bring no evil report, even by the sadness of the countenance or by ill-advised words, as if the requirements of God were a restriction upon our liberty. Even in this world of sorrow, disappointment, and sin the Lord desires us to be cheerful, and strong in His strength. The whole person is privileged to bear a decided testimony in every line. In features, in temper, in words, in character, we are to witness that the service of God is good. Thus we proclaim that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” Ibid., vol. 6, 365.
6 What are we to do with any evil report that we hear?
“When Jesus was on earth, and saw a scene of contention and strife, He would raise His voice in the notes of a melodious song, praising God. The presence of God would be felt; the hearts of those who had been contending would respond to the influences of the Spirit; and they would unite in the song. When some one comes to you with an evil report of some one else, do not take up the reproach and talk it over, either in the family or in the church. Do not add your complaints to those of others.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.
7 What other words and actions are a breaking of God’s Law?
“Every unkind criticism of others, every word of self-esteem, is ‘the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity.’ [Isaiah 58:9.] The lifting up of self in pride, as if you were faultless, the magnifying of the faults of others, is an offense to God. It is breaking the law which says, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Matthew 19:19.] The injunction is given, ‘Be kindly affectioned one to another.’ [Romans 12:10.] We have no right to withdraw our confidence from a brother because some evil report comes to our ears, some accusation is made or supposition is suggested that he has done wrong. Frequently the evil report that is brought to us is made by those who are at enmity with God, those who are joining the enemy in his work of accusing the brethren. Those who are unmindful of the Saviour’s words, ‘Take heed therefore how ye hear’ [Luke 8:18], allow their unsanctified ears to hear wrong, their perverted senses to imagine wrong, and their evil tongues to report wrong.” Review and Herald, May 7, 1895.
8 What underhanded method will Satan use to destroy God’s people?
“Satan well knows that all his strength, together with that of his angels and evil men, is but weakness when opposed to the faithful, united servants of the Great King, even though they may be few. In order to overcome the people of God, Satan will work upon elements in the character which have not been transformed by the grace of Christ; he will make these the controlling power of the life. Unless these persons are converted, their own souls will be lost, and others who regarded them as men led of God, will be destroyed with them, because they become guilty with them. Satan endeavors to create suspicion, envy, and jealousy, leading men to question those things that it would be to their soul’s interest to believe. The suspicious ones will misconstrue everything. They will call an atom a world, and a world an atom. If this spirit is allowed to prevail, it will demoralize our churches and institutions.” The Home Missionary, January 1, 1892.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.