The Power of Speech, Part VIII

[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.”]

What is one time when we should not speak?

“God lives and reigns, and if you take hold of His work cheerfully and willingly, He will bless and sustain you. When you are tempted to murmur and complain, keep your mouth closed. Remember that at such times silence is eloquence. Speak no words that you will not be willing to meet in the judgment. And remember that, when God sends His servants to do a hard work in a hard field, He does not want you to make their work harder by criticism and faultfinding.” Ibid., April 14, 1903.

“Silence is the greatest rebuke that you can possibly give a faultfinder or one whose temper is irritated.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 271.

If we are busy looking at the imperfections of others, what will be the result?

“But if any do not take upon them the yoke of Christ, if they do not cast away the yokes and burdens of their own manufacturing which gall so, they will be filled with dissatisfaction, complaints, faultfinding, and evil speaking. They will be so engaged in looking upon the imperfections of others that they will fail to see and appreciate that which is desirable and precious. They will fail to fill memory’s hall with the pictures of that which is pure and lovely and of good report.” Review and Herald, August 8, 1893.

To what should we open our hearts?

“My brethren, I charge you to close your ears to faultfinders, close your hearts that they shall not be recipients of evil seeds of suspicion and distrust, and open your hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. In the fold of Jesus Christ the sheep and the lambs are to be gathered in one flock, to be nourished, to be defended from the attacks of wolves.” Ibid., October 24, 1893.

Instead of faultfinding, what kinds of words are we to speak?

“If we have been critical and condemnatory, full of faultfinding, talking doubt and darkness, we have a work of repentance and reformation to do. We are to walk in the light, speaking words that will bring peace and happiness. Jesus is to abide in the soul. And where he is, instead of gloom, murmuring, and repining, there will be fragrance of character.” Ibid., June 12, 1894.

“ ‘They that feared the Lord,’ writes the prophet Malachi, ‘spake often one to another; and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.’ Were the words spoken, words of complaint, of faultfinding, of self-sympathy?—No; in contrast to those who speak against God, those who fear him speak words of courage, of thankfulness, and of praise. They do not cover the altar of God with tears and lamentations; they come with faces lighted up with the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and praise God for his goodness.” Ibid., January 5, 1897.

“Satan works untiringly to thwart the purpose of God, and he tempts the children of God to be severe upon the errors of others, while they themselves are careless in regard to their own course of action, and mingle defects with their work. There will always be something which we can criticize; but when we view things as God views them, we shall not look at the work of others with a critical eye, eager to find some flaw, but will seek to find something of which we can approve. Let him who makes criticism and faultfinding his first duty, who spends his God-given time in speaking words which sow the seeds of doubt and unbelief, take heed lest defects far more serious be found in his own character.” Ibid., February 16, 1897.

There are some workers whom Christ does not accept because of their speech.

“The Lord is displeased with many who claim to believe the truth. They act like unreasonable, passionate children. Christ can not accept their work. He does not need the service of those who are inspired by the enemy of all good. Many connected with the work of God give way to their temper. They fret and grumble when things do not move in a way that pleases them. The Lord is dishonored by this discontent and faultfinding. Those who give way to these traits of character can not inspire confidence as Christians.” Ibid., July 11, 1899.

Why we do not need to fight for our way:

“If those who fight for their own way would take time to think; if they would plead with God to give them self-control; if they would watch unto prayer, their words of complaint and faultfinding would be much fewer. They would not find pleasure in criticizing. Thankfulness would take possession of their poor, worrying, fretting hearts, and they would rest in God, trusting in him to steer the ship. God could manage if we had nothing to do or say, but he permits us, yes, he invites us, to cooperate with him.” Ibid.

What are three classes of words we should never speak?

“As a sacred trust the voice should be used to honor God. It should never utter harsh, impure words, or words of faultfinding. The gospel of Christ is to be proclaimed by the voice. With the talent of speech we are to communicate the truth as we have opportunity. It should ever be used in God’s service. But this talent is grievously abused. Words are spoken that do great harm. Christ declared, ‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ [Matthew 12:36, 37.]” Ibid., September 12, 1899.

What is the greatest cause of our weakness?

“The greatest cause of weakness among those who are looking for the Lord’s second coming is lack of love and confidence. This causes suspicion. There is a lack of frankness; the way is hedged up by supposition. Some one discovers a supposed defect in a brother or sister, and he acts on this supposition, as if it were true. When criticism and faultfinding, and a desire for the highest place enter the church, the serpent, disguised, enters with them, leaving a trail of evil wherever he goes. The leaven works, and the men God has appointed to do a certain work are regarded with suspicion and distrust, although there may not be the slightest cause for this. Unless this evil is uprooted, unless the Holy Spirit works to cast out the enemy, the life God designs to be a success will be a failure. Satan will make the mind a depository for his insinuations, and the man will lose the battle, when he might have gone forward to victory.” Ibid., October 17, 1899.

“My brother, my sister, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow workers. You have enlisted to fight against Satan’s forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God’s witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement or unbelief. He can not afford to be harsh or faultfinding. He has not received orders to punish the erring and sinful by heaping abuse upon them.” Ibid., November 24, 1904.

Should we try to find someone to criticize? Should we say nothing when we see something wrong?

“I ask you never to find fault with what has been done here; for I have seen the angels of God working here, encouraging the workers, and leading them to lift their eyes to see their Redeemer and be strengthened. I have seen the angels of God on this ground with the youth and with the other workers. I have seen the power of God at work here, and I wish to tell you that I want this meeting to be an everlasting cure of your faultfinding and murmuring and trying to find some one to criticize. May God help us all to humble our hearts before him and be converted.” Ibid., May 25, 1905.

“We are not to watch for an opportunity to find fault, if a brother does not speak exactly as we wish him to speak. Perhaps God does not want him to speak as you want him to. His words may cut you to the quick, but even then you are not at liberty to find fault. The talent of speech was given to us that we might speak, not words of faultfinding, but words of counsel, words of encouragement, words of reproof. Because we are not to find fault, this does not mean that we are to pass by things that are wrong, without saying a word. If you see one doing wrong, go right to him, and tell him his fault in the way outlined in the Scriptures. In the meekness of Christ tell him the truth, and you may save his soul from death. But if you gloss over the mistakes, leaving those who have made them to think that they have done nothing wrong, you must share in the punishment, because you were unfaithful to your trust.” Ibid., July 20, 1905.

God is not in the “differences.”

“My dear brethren and sisters, God is not pleased with a spirit of criticism and faultfinding. We must humble our hearts daily before God, and seek for a new conversion, that we may be brought into right relationship with Christ Jesus. Those who are striving to keep the commandments of God, ought to be in harmony, and to show a spirit of humility and love. God is not in any of the differences that are so apparent. He does not inspire words of faultfinding. He is now calling upon us to humble ourselves under the hand of the Almighty, in order that he may lift us up.” Ibid., December 13, 1906.

We have better ways to spend our time and energies than to engage in slander.

“Few have felt a heavy burden for souls. 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! We have no time for faultfinding or criticism.” Ibid., January 3, 1907.

“Do not find fault and criticize. Thus you spend your energies in Satan’s cause. Do not give way to anger because you think that you are misunderstood. Was not your Master misunderstood? Speak no word of doubt or unbelief. The more you talk of the difficulties in the way, the larger will they appear. Do not accuse your brethren. Rather accuse yourselves. An untold amount of mischief is done by words of faultfinding and slander. Never tear down the reputation of a fellow being.” Ibid., November 10, 1910.

The surest way to become weak spiritually:

“There is no surer way of weakening ourselves in spiritual things than to be envious, suspicious of one another, full of faultfinding and evil-surmising. ‘This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.’ [James 3:15–18.]” Ibid., July 27, 1911.

God wants us to appear at our best always.

“Satan is an accuser of the brethren. He is on the watch for every error, no matter how small, that he may have something on which to found an accusation. Keep off of Satan’s side. It is true that you should give no occasion for faultfinding. A moment’s petulance, a single gruff answer, the want of Christian politeness and courtesy in some small matter, may result in the loss of friends, in the loss of influence. God would have you appear at your best under all circumstances, in the presence of those who are inferior to you as well as in the presence of equals and superiors. We are to be followers of Christ at all times, seeking his honor, seeking to rightly represent him in every way, that we may be lights in the world, showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are not to exalt our own opinions above those of others. If our ideas are superior to those of others, it will be made manifest without special effort on our part.” Ibid., November 7, 1912.

To be continued . . .

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.