Christian Leadership

Kindness, Tenderness, Sympathy

When Their Counsel is Not Followed—God sees every transaction; nothing is hid from Him. There is too much responsibility assumed by men who have not cultivated the love and compassion and sympathy and tenderness that characterized the life of Christ. In dealing with some of their brethren who have not followed their counsel or who may have questioned their course of action or who may have had dealings with them that did not please them, they manifest no love, although these souls are the purchase of the blood of Christ, and may be more precious in the sight of God because of their simplicity and their integrity in maintaining the right at any cost.—Letter 31a, 1894, p. 14 (October 27, 1894 to A. R. Henry). ChL 6.1

Pleasure in Bruising Souls—I am sorry that there are those in positions of trust who very sparingly cultivate the sympathy and tenderness of Christ. They do not even cultivate and manifest love toward their brethren and sisters who are in the faith. They do not exercise the precious tact that should bind and heal those who go astray, but instead they exhibit cruelty of spirit, that drives the wanderer still further into the dark, and makes angels weep. Some seem to find a sort of pleasure in bruising and wounding souls who are ready to die. As I look upon men who handle sacred truth, who bear sacred responsibilities, and who are failing to cultivate a spirit of love and tenderness, I feel like crying out, “Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die?”—Letter 43, 1895, p. 3 (June 14, 1895 to J. H. Kellogg). ChL 6.2

Kindness, Courtesy, and the Lowliness of Christ—You need the kindness, courtesy, meekness, and lowliness of Christ. You have many valuable qualifications that can be perfected for highest service if sanctified to God. You should feel the necessity of approaching your brethren with kindness and courtesy, not with harshness and severity. You do not realize the harm you do by your sharp, domineering spirit toward them. The ministers in your conference become disheartened, losing the courage they might have if you would give then respect, kindness, confidence, and love. By your manner of dealing you have separated the hearts of your brethren from you, so that your counsel has not had much influence over them for good. This is not as the Lord would have it. He is not pleased with your attitude toward your brethren.—Letter 3, 1888, p. 4 (January 10, 1888). ChL 6.3

The Power of Kindness—We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. ChL 7.1

If after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian, and they become surprised and ashamed and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them. ChL 7.2

If you had laid their wrong course of action before them, they would have braced themselves in stubbornness and defiance; but to be treated in tenderness and consideration, they feel more deeply their own course of action and contrast it with yours. Then you have the staff in your own hands. You occupy vantage ground, and when you show a solicitude for their souls, they know that you are no hypocrite, but that you mean every word you say. ChL 7.3

I have been shown that a few words spoken in a hasty manner, under provocation, and which seemed but a little thing—just what they deserved, often cut the cords of influence that should have bound the soul to your soul. The very idea of their being in darkness, under the temptation of Satan and blinded by his bewitching power, should make you feel deep sympathy for them—the same that you would feel for a diseased patient who suffers, but, on account of his disease, is not aware of his danger.—Letter 20, 1892 (October 17, 1892 to J. H. Kellogg). ChL 7.4

Representatives of Jesus—It would be well if those occupying positions of trust in our institutions would remember that they are to be representatives of Jesus. True goodness, holiness, love, compassion for tempted souls must be revealed in their lives. Christ gave Himself to the world, that He might save those who would believe in Him. Shall not we, partakers of this great salvation, value the souls for whom He gave His life! Let us labor with a perseverance and energy proportionate to the value Christ places upon His blood-bought heritage. Human souls have cost too much to be trifled with, or treated with harshness or indifference. ChL 7.5

A defective life is a dishonor to God. Co-workers with Christ will manifest no harshness, no self-sufficiency. These elements must be purified from the soul, and the gentleness of Christ take possession. Never be unkind to any soul, for by the grace of God that soul may become an heir of God and joint heir with Christ. Do not bruise the hearts of Christ's purchased ones, for in doing this you bruise the heart of Christ. Ever remember that we must all meet again around the great white throne, there to receive the approval or disapproval of God. A soul hurt is often a soul destroyed. Let those who have light and privileges remember that their very position of trust makes them responsible for souls. They will have to meet again those whom they have driven from Christ bruised and wounded to death. ChL 8.1

The human agent is a savor of life unto life, or he is a savor of death unto death. He either draws with Christ, or he draws away from Christ.—Manuscript 143, 1899 (October 4, 1899, “Co-Workers With Christ”). ChL 8.2

Kind to the Erring—In the advancement of his cause in the earth, he would have men appointed to deal with the erring who will be kind and considerate, and whose characters reveal the similitude of the divine,—men who will show the wisdom of Christ in dealing with matters that should be kept private, and who, when a work of correction and reproof must be done, will know how to keep silence before those whom it does not concern. Unbelievers should not be given opportunity to make God's people, be they ministers or laymen, the objects of their suspicion and unrighteous judgment.—The Review and Herald, November 14, 1907. ChL 8.3

Kindness to Youth—God holds the managers of his institutions responsible to treat the youth in the employ of these institutions with courtesy, respect, and kindness. They are to deal with them as they themselves wish to be dealt with by Christ. Their first work is to be so kind to the youth, so thoughtful of their interests, that they will feel at home in their presence.—The Review and Herald, April 28, 1903. ChL 8.4