The Power of Speech, Part V

[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.”]

In the previous segment of this series, the first eight points of “The Evil Report” were given. In summary, they are:

1 What should we do if someone has wronged us?

2 Whose name are we pledged to protect?

3 What created the frenzy that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus?

4 What feelings are we not to allow to arise?

5 What is our moral obligation in regard to our countenance?

6 What are we to do with any evil report that we hear?

7 What other words and actions are a breaking of God’s Law?

8 What underhanded method will Satan use to destroy God’s people?

We continue now with Points 9-18:

9 What is another way that we break the Law of God in our speech about another?

“To speak evil of another secretly, leaving the one accused in ignorance of the wrong attributed to him, is an offense in the sight of God. Let those who have been drawn into this work repent before God, confess their sin, and then nourish the tender plant of love. Cultivate the graces of the spirit, cultivate tenderness, compassion for one another, and do not longer work on the enemy’s side of the question.” The Home Missionary, January 1, 1892.

10 Before we believe any evil report, what should we do?

“Before giving credence to an evil report, we should go to the one reported to be in error, and ask, with all the tenderness of a Christian, if these statements are true. A few words spoken in brotherly kindness may show the inquirer that the reports were wholly without foundation, or that the evil was greatly magnified.” Ibid.

11 Before we pass judgment on another, what should we do?

“And before passing unfavorable judgment upon another, you should go to the one whom you think has erred, tell him your fears, with your own souls subdued by the pitying love of Jesus, and see if some explanation cannot be made that will remove your unfavorable impressions.” Ibid.

12 How can a professed child of God become a servant of Satan?

“Christ prayed that his disciples might be one, even as he is one with the Father. Then every one who claims to be a child of God should labor for this oneness. When it exists, the followers of Christ will be a holy, powerful people, united in love. But if you let love die out of the soul, and accept the accusations of Satan’s agents against the children of God, you become servants of sin, and are helping the devil in his work.” Ibid.

13 What will happen when we love our neighbor as ourselves?

“When the members of God’s church see eye to eye, they will constantly guard the tongue, in order that they may not misuse the talent of speech. This talent is a precious gift. Let us study our words with care, and be a blessing to mankind by refusing to bring reproach upon one of our brethren by passing on to others some evil report that we may hear. If we speak evil of another, reproach will lie at our door. When we all love our neighbor as ourselves, idle, mischievous whisperings will cease. May the Lord by his converting power sanctify our talent of speech, that we may use it to his glory, and in no wise to the injury of souls.” Review and Herald, January 6, 1903.

14 The vultures gather wherever the carcass is?

“When the claims of God are presented, those who love sin evince their true character by the satisfaction with which they point to the faults and errors of professed Christians. They are actuated by the same spirit as their master, Satan, whom the Bible declares to be the ‘accuser of the brethren.’ [Revelation 12:10.] Let an evil report be started, and how rapidly it will be exaggerated and passed from lip to lip! How many will feast upon it, like vultures upon a heap of garbage. Whether the slanderous tale comes with or without proof, they give it ready credence, showing a strength of faith that is surprising. And yet these very persons will refuse to believe the truths of God’s word so long as there is the semblance of an excuse for doubt.” The Signs of the Times, March 9, 1882.

15 How a person says and does things of which he thought he was incapable?

“Saul had cut himself off from every means whereby the Lord could work in his behalf to save him from himself. In the facts of sacred history, there are lessons showing what a dangerous thing it is to cherish a jealous, revengeful spirit. It is impossible to determine to what length this spirit will lead its possessor if it is not overcome. When an evil report is circulated concerning the character of those who are striving to serve God, a power from beneath seems to move the minds of those who cherish enmity. He who has prided himself on possessing a high sense of honor, by taking this path of enmity will often fall into error, and will say and do things of which he deemed himself incapable. If a prophet of God should portray before him the course he would be led to pursue by cherishing such a spirit, he would indignantly inquire as did Hazael, ‘Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?’ [11 Kings 8:13.] But let him turn from the straight path of right, and follow where the promptings of Satan would lead him, and he will manifest the spirit of his captain until truth, honor, and justice are sacrificed through the lusts of passion.” Ibid., October 5, 1888.

16 The tiny seed of doubt?

“I 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 a message 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. And now in this case a firm, decided, obstinate spirit was taking possession of hearts, and those who had known of the grace of God and had felt His converting power upon their hearts once, were deluded, infatuated, working under a deception all through that meeting, and it took but a tiny seed of doubt and questioning to find fruitful soil in the hearts of those who had no living connection with God, whose hearts were hard and un-impressionable. Their base passions were stirred and it was a precious opportunity to them to show the mob spirit.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 309.

17 What happens when the satanic spirit takes control?

“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. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to leave the meeting, leave Minneapolis.” Ibid.

18 What we are not to listen to?

“Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them of the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not open their ears to these reports. They should inquire, ‘Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you told him his faults between you and him alone? And then if he refused to hear, have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others and labored with him in tenderness, in humility, in meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul?’ If you failed here, there was only one more step you could take—tell it to the church, and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures. Then it is that heaven will ratify the decision made by the church in cutting off the offending member.

“If these steps have not been taken, do not listen to a word, close the ears, and refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor; listening to the reports of evil is lifting or taking up the reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to take up the reproach against their neighbors, evil tongues would not find so fruitful a field in which to labor, backbiting and devouring one another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 280, 281.

To be continued . . .

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: or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.