The Power of Speech, Part VI

[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.”]

Some people would find fault with others in heaven!

“Are you quarrelsome here? Are you finding fault with your household here? If you are, you will find fault with them in heaven. Your character is being tested and proved in this life, whether you will make a peaceable subject of God’s kingdom in heaven.” In Heavenly Places, 227.

“The home is a place where we are to prepare for the home above. If there are such temperaments in the family that they cannot live in harmony here, they would not, unless converted, be in harmony in the heavenly family. There is altogether too much careless talking, censuring, faultfinding, in families that profess to love and serve God. The unkind words, the irreverence and disrespect in many families, make angels weep. What a record is made upon the books of heaven of unkind looks and words that sting and bite like an adder, and it is not the record of one day only in the year, but of day after day.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 319.

These people will not be in heaven.

“I saw that all the religion a few poor souls have consists in watching the garments and acts of others, and finding fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in heaven for them, for they would find fault with the Lord Himself.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 145.

“In the home the spirit of criticism and faultfinding should have no place. The peace of the home is too sacred to be marred by this spirit. But how often, when seated at the meal table, the members of the family pass round a dish of criticism, faultfinding, and scandal. Were Christ to come today, would He not find many of the families who profess to be Christians cherishing the spirit of criticism and unkindness? The members of such families are unready to unite with the family above.” The Adventist Home, 440.

“Fretfulness and impatience will be avoided, because they shut away the light of the Sun of righteousness from the soul. Those who manifest impatience, who are faultfinders, exacters, and accusers will have to be converted and become as little children, or they will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1894.

“I [Ellen White] feel an intense interest regarding every faultfinder; for I know that a quarrelsome disposition will never find entrance into the city of God. Quarrel with yourself, but with no one else; and then be converted. Confess your sins right here where you are, before you return to your homes. With words of confession, humble your hearts before God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 271.

Whose work is it to find fault?

“Be kind; cultivate love and gentleness. Pray more; read your Bibles more. Be diligent students in the school of Christ. Then the members of the church will not be finding fault with their brethren and sisters; this is Satan’s work.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 571.

What position is the church to take with those who find fault?

“Those who are associated together in church capacity have entered into a relationship with one another which implies mutual responsibility. They have individually pledged themselves to God and to their brethren to build up one another in the most holy faith,—to build up, not to tear down. No church can be in a healthy, flourishing condition unless its leaders shall take firm, decided measures to repress this fault-finding, accusing spirit wherever it exists. Its indulgence should be made a matter of church discipline; for it is a violation of the law of God, a violation of the rules which Christ has laid down for preserving order in the church. If these mischievous talkers are not subjected to church discipline they become confirmed in their evil work, and God charges the guilt upon the church.” Review and Herald, October 19, 1886.

How can the atmosphere around us become tainted?

“It is impossible to express the pain and trouble caused by the false tongue. The atmosphere surrounding the soul is vital with influences for good or evil. There are persons whose presence leaves a taint on everything wherever they go. An intelligent Christian lady, after a scandal-monger had left her house, set all the doors and windows wide open to cleanse the atmosphere of its pollution. The professed followers of Christ should realize that the influence of their words and acts not only has a bearing upon themselves, but extends outside the church. If they could see the mischief wrought by their careless words, the repetition of vague reports, the unjust censures, there would be far less talking and more praying when Christians assemble together.” Ibid.

Our accountability

“At the bar of God there will be opened before us astonishing revelations of the results of evil-speaking. At that bar the deceitful tongue, the cruel tongue, that has been so unsparing in its accusing and denunciation, will receive from the Judge of all the earth the same judgment that it has passed upon others. Vain talkers will then be called to meet their work, to answer for the souls that have been turned from the truth by their wicked words.

“The members of the church need to be educated to realize their accountability. They should feel that it extends to all the minutest acts of life, to the words and to the thoughts. We must individually meet our whole life again before God’s throne, and give an account, not only for all we have done, whether good or evil, but for all the good we might have done yet failed to accomplish because we were not consecrated to God.” Ibid.

When will the church be unable to rise?

“The Lord is willing to work for the church if they will in his fear go to work for themselves. They must individually make earnest efforts to reach a higher standard; but the church cannot rise while the mischief-makers are allowed to do their work of death. Each member of the church should do all in his power to eradicate this curse. God would have his children keep guard, not only over their words, but over their thoughts. Let the heart be closed firmly against all evil reports and meddling talkers, and let it be opened wide to receive God’s light and love. Let the soul receive the impress of the divine image, that it may reflect Jesus to the world.” Ibid.

How can the church become a light to unbelievers?

“The grace of Christ in the soul is represented as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The heart imbued with the spirit of Christ renders back love and obedience, gratitude and thanksgiving, thus showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. How terrible a thing it is to disappoint Jesus by failing to do this work which he expects of us, and which we can do if his light is shining in our hearts! The world is to be warned by the solemn truths which God has committed to his people. And the condition of the church is making its impression either for or against these truths. A perishing world has need of living Christian men and women, in whom Christ is abiding, and in whose daily life he is revealed. A church whose members are quickened by personal connection with Jesus will have an influence upon unbelievers. Their purity of character, their inflexible fidelity, their Christ-like meekness, are a light to guide other souls to Christ and to the truth.” Ibid.

What four classes of workers in God’s institutions should be dismissed from employment?

“No one should be retained in any one of the Lord’s institutions who in a crisis fails of realizing that His instrumentalities are sacred. If workers have no relish for the truth; if their connection with the institution makes them no better, brings to them no love for the truth, then, after sufficient trial, separate them from the work; for their irreligion and unbelief influence others. Through them evil angels work to mislead those who are brought in as apprentices. You should obtain for apprentices those who are promising youth, those who love God. But if you place them in connection with others who have no love for God, they are in constant danger from the irreligious influence. The halfhearted and worldly, those who are given to gossip, who dwell on the faults of others, while neglecting their own, should be separated from the work.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 202.

How do we know that we will always have faultfinders to deal with in the church until the end?

“The entire body of Christians was not called to vote upon the question. The ‘apostles and elders,’ men of influence and judgment, framed and issued the decree, which was thereupon generally accepted by the Christian churches. Not all, however, were pleased with the decision; there was a faction of ambitious and self-confident brethren who disagreed with it. These men assumed to engage in the work on their own responsibility. They indulged in much murmuring and faultfinding, proposing new plans and seeking to pull down the work of the men whom God had ordained to teach the gospel message. From the first the church has had such obstacles to meet and ever will have till the close of time.” The Acts of the Apostles, 196, 197.

“Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead in His work has excited suspicion; every act has been misrepresented by the jealous and faultfinding. Thus it was in the time of Luther, of the Wesleys and other reformers. Thus it is today.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 404.

How is the spirituality of the church killed?

“After the family then comes the church. The influence of the family is to be such that it will be a help and a blessing in the church. Never speak a word of complaint or faultfinding. There are churches in which the spirituality has been almost killed, because the spirit of backbiting has been allowed to enter. Why do we speak words of blame and censure? To be silent is the strongest rebuke that you can give to one who is speaking harsh, discourteous words to you. Keep perfectly silent. Often silence is eloquence.” Child Guidance, 551.

What is another way that a Christian worker brings himself under Satan’s control?

“Some are teaching the truth to others, when they themselves need to be taught the first principles of the Christian religion. They are at war with God through his providence. They watch for something to feel bad about; and they never fail to find it, for the faultfinding spirit is in their hearts and controls their lives. They are always dissatisfied. Their work is too hard, they are not appreciated, or they do not receive sufficient compensation. If anything crosses their track, they draw back like pettish children, forgetting that as Christ’s servants they should not be affected by the course of any man. This spirit savors of Satan, and those who manifest it are thereby yielding to his control.” Gospel Workers (1892), 438.

If we become Christlike, how will we feel about faultfinding?

“We are nearing the end of time. Trials will be abundant from without, but let them not come from within the church. Let God’s professed people deny self for the truth’s sake, for Christ’s sake. ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.’ . . . Everyone who truly loves God will have the spirit of Christ and a fervent love for his brethren. The more a person’s heart is in communion with God, and the more his affections are centered in Christ, the less will he be disturbed by the roughness and hardships he meets in this life. Those who are growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus will become more and more like Christ in character, rising above the disposition to murmur and be discontented. They will despise to be faultfinders.” Lift Him Up, 338.

“God’s all-seeing eye notes the defects of all and the ruling passion of each, yet He bears with our mistakes and pities our weakness. He bids His people cherish the same spirit of tenderness and forbearance. True Christians will not exult in exposing the faults and deficiencies of others. They will turn away from vileness and deformity, to fix the mind upon that which is attractive and lovely. To the Christian every act of faultfinding, every word of censure or condemnation, is painful.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 95, 96.

What is the most powerful testimony that Christians can give?

“The neglect to cultivate tender consideration and forbearance for one another has caused dissension, distrust, faultfinding, and general disunion. God . . . calls upon us to put away this great sin and to strive to answer the prayer of Christ that His disciples may be one as He is one with the Father. . . . It is the special work of Satan to cause dissension, . . . that the world should be deprived of the most powerful testimony Christians can give it that God has sent His Son to bring into harmony turbulent, proud, envious, jealous, bigoted minds.” Our High Calling, 237.

“We individually have a case pending in the court of heaven. Character is being weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and it should be the earnest desire of all to walk humbly and carefully, lest, neglecting to let their light shine forth to the world, they fail of the grace of God and lose everything that is valuable. All dissension, all differences and faultfinding, should be put away, with all evil speaking and bitterness; kindness, love, and compassion for one another should be cherished, that the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one as He is one with the Father may be answered. The harmony and unity of the church are the credentials that they present to the world that Jesus is the Son of God. Genuine conversion will ever lead to genuine love for Jesus and for all those for whom He died.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 279.

What should we do when ill-treated?

“Under a storm of stinging, faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. Let mind and heart be stored with God’s promises. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises: “ ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:21.” The Ministry of Healing, 486.

Where do we need to focus our attention?

“We should be weeding out of our thoughts all complaining and faultfinding. Let us not continue to look upon any defects that we may see. . . . If we would get the right hold on God, we must keep beholding the great precious things—the purity, the glory, the power, the kindness, the affection, the love, that God bestows upon us. And thus beholding, our minds will become so fixed upon these things of eternal interest that we shall have no desire to find the flaws in others.” Our High Calling, 232.

What should we do if spoken to harshly?

“When you are tempted to speak unadvisedly, be on guard. If some one else approaches you with words of criticism regarding one of God’s children, turn a deaf ear to every such word. If you are spoken to harshly, never retaliate. Utter not a word. When under provocation, remember that ‘silence is eloquence.’ Silence is the greatest rebuke that you can possibly give to a faultfinder or one whose temper is irritated.” Ibid., 293.

What is the result of patience?

“Is there anything desirable in impatience? The loud, harsh complaint, the fretful, faultfinding spirit, are evidences of a narrow, conceited mind. Impatience brings strife and accusation and sorrow; but patience pours the balm of peace and love into the experiences of the home life. When we exercise the precious grace of patience toward others, they will reflect our spirit, and we shall gather with Christ. Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives. Everyone should mount this round of progress, and add to faith, virtue, and temperance, the grace of patience.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 19.

We need to encourage one another in doing good.

“A word of love and encouragement will do more to subdue the hasty temper and willful disposition than all the faultfinding and severe censure that you can heap upon the erring ones.” The Publishing Ministry, 137.

“How much more might have been accomplished had the time spent by God’s people in faultfinding been spent in encouraging one another, and in active service! How much better for voices to blend in prayer, in holy unison, than to be employed in finding fault!” Review and Herald, January 3, 1907.

Concerning censuring others behind their backs in our time:

“Desiring to bring censure upon the disciples, these wicked accusers went again and again to Christ with the question, Why do Thy disciples that which is not lawful? And when they judged our Lord to have transgressed, they spoke, not to Himself, but to His disciples, to plant the seeds of unbelief in the hearts of His followers.

“Thus they worked to bring in doubt and dissension. Every method was tried to bring doubt into the hearts of the little flock, that it might cause them to watch for something that would check the good and gracious work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Work of this same character will be brought to bear upon true believers today. The Lord Jesus reads the heart; He discerns the interests and purposes of the thoughts of all men concerning Himself and His believing disciples. He answers their thoughts concerning the faultfinding ones, ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’ (Matthew 9:12). The insolent Pharisees had an exalted idea of their own piety and holiness, while they were ready to pass censure on the lives of others.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 30, 31.

When will God’s ministers, though not guilty, be accused as faultfinders and accusers?

“Paul longed to speak to the church in Corinth of spiritual things. But to his sorrow he found it in great weakness. The church members could not even bear to hear the truth concerning themselves. [1 Corinthians 3:1, 2 quoted.] The Spiritual growth of this people was so dwarfed that a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ was an offense to them. Paul knew that by giving them the truth he would be ranked as an accuser and faultfinder.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1086.

What is included in “the beam” (log or large timber) in Matthew 7:1–3?

“The eleventh chapter of 11 Corinthians contains much instruction. It reveals to us that men who are liable to view matters after human eyesight may make very grave mistakes if they engage in a work that God has not appointed, but condemned. That work is to criticize, to climb upon the judgment seat, and pronounce sentence. How much better would it be for the spiritual advancement of such to look well to their own shortcomings and defects of character through watchful examination of their own hearts, to try to remove from them the beam of faultfinding, of evil surmising, of evil speaking, of bearing false witness, of hatred, and accusing of the brethren.” Ibid., 1105.

Is faultfinding sometimes a “good work”?

“Those who make faultfinding their work, may appear to be constantly anxious and interested in regard to the welfare of others. They may seem to be actively engaged in good work. But their work does harm, and by the Lord it is not regarded as of any value. ‘They say,’ is whispered here and there; by blind suggestions, other minds are filled with suspicion and distrust; uneasiness is created. Those who have listened to the ‘They say,’ call to mind something they have observed in their brethren, which might have been wrong, and much is made of that which is worthy of but little notice. These apparently innocent words strike long, fibrous roots into the minds of those that hear them, and untold harm is done. Seeds of bitterness are planted; evil suggestions rankle in human hearts, and the seed springs up to bear an abundant harvest.” Ibid., vol. 7, 940.

How to be cured of faultfinding:

“Said the angel: ‘It is an individual work to be right with God.’ The work is between God and our own souls. But when persons have so much care of others’ faults, they take no care of themselves. These notional, faultfinding ones would often cure themselves of the habit if they would go directly to the individual they think is wrong. It would be so crossing that they would give up their notions rather than go. But it is easy to let the tongue run freely about this one or that one when the accused is not present.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 145.

What class of people in the church is predicted to be shaken out?

“There is a class East who profess to believe the truth, but who cherish secret feelings of dissatisfaction against those who bear the burden in this work. The true sentiments of such do not appear until some influence opposed to the work of God arises, and then they manifest their true character. Such readily receive, cherish, and circulate reports which have no foundation in truth, to destroy the influence of those who are engaged in this work. All who wish to draw off from the body will have opportunity. Something will arise to test everyone. The great sifting time is just before us. The jealous and the faultfinding, who are watching for evil, will be shaken out. They hate reproof and despise correction.” Ibid., 251.

Would it be better for some people not to come to church or enter God’s work?

“Murmurers and complainers should remain at home, where they will be out of the way of temptation, where they cannot find food for their jealousies, evil surmisings, and faultfindings, for the presence of such is only a burden to the meetings; they are clouds without water.” Ibid., 527.

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.