Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 58—Stirring Up Opposition

Dear Sister T,

I have been shown that there has been a fault in your religious life. You have possessed too much of a combative spirit. While it is your privilege to think and act for yourself, you have carried the matter too far. You have had more independence than humility. You have pursued a course to irritate rather than to pacify. It has been necessary for you to possess firmness in order to stand in defense of the truth; yet you have frequently erred in not possessing that meek and quiet spirit which God esteems of great price. In your family you have met with opposition and a manifest disrelish of the truth, but you have failed to meet these trials in the best manner. You have talked too much and been too positive. You have mingled too little love and tenderness with your efforts for your family, especially for your husband. You are in danger of carrying points to extremes, overdoing the matter, and hurting instead of healing. Wherever you can yield your judgment and not sacrifice the principles of truth, it is best for you to do so, even if you think you are right. You have a responsibility, an identity, which cannot be merged in your husband. Yet there is a bond which makes you one, and in many things, if you were more yielding, it would be far better for your husband, your children, and yourself. You are too exacting. You do not seek to win those who differ with you. You are quick to discern when you have the advantage, and you make the most of it. If you possessed more forbearance mingled with sweet love, and if you should for Christ's sake pass over many things without taking them up and pressing them home, thus creating uncomfortable feelings, the influence would be better, more saving. You need love, tender pity, and affection. 2T 436.1

You see the truth, and then you mark out how this one and that one should practice it; and if they fail to come up to the mark you set, you feel to draw off from them. You cannot fellowship them, and love dies out of your heart for them, when in reality they are just as near right as you are. You make yourself enemies when you might have friends. You are ardent and positive in your temperament, and when you see points of truth, you carry matters to extremes. You thus repulse persons, instead of winning and binding them to your heart. You look upon the objectionable features in the character of those with whom you associate, and dwell upon their seeming inconsistencies and wrongs, overlooking their redeeming traits. I was referred to this scripture: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Here, dear sister, you may meditate and speculate with profit. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. You possess too much of a spirit of war, and throw things into confusion and strife. You must change your life and character if you are ever classed with those who hear the words: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Let nothing but kind, loving words fall from your lips concerning the members of your family or of the church. 2T 437.1

You need to open your heart to love, to that love which dwelt in the bosom of Jesus. Should your Saviour deal with you as you would deal with those with whom you differ, you would certainly be in a distressed condition. Your case would be nearly hopeless. But I thank the Lord that we have a merciful high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. You have been tried with others, and have pursued a course toward them that Heaven does not approve. You have a work to do to let the softening influence of the grace of God into your heart; seek meekness, seek righteousness. 2T 438.1

You are zealous for the truth. You love it and wish to invest something in it. This is all right, but be careful that the precepts you give to others are backed up with example. You must seek for peace. You can do this and not sacrifice one principle of truth. You have stormed and fought your way through, and now you need to soften your influence, to sweeten, to soothe, instead of stirring up opposition. You have possessed a large share of self-confidence and self-esteem, and have been self-exalted. Now you need to exalt Jesus and imitate the harmless life of Him whom peace everywhere followed. 2T 438.2

You, my sister, will prove a trial to God's people unless you are willing to learn, willing to be counseled. You must not continue to feel that you know it all. You have much yet to learn before you can be perfect before God. The sweetest and best lesson to be learned will be that of humility. “Learn of Me,” says the humble Nazarene; “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This lesson of meekness, forbearance, patience, and love you have yet to learn and practice. You can be a blessing. You can help such as need help; but you must lay down your measuring tape, for that is not for you to use. One who is unerring in judgment, who understands the weakness of our fallen, corrupt natures, holds the standard Himself. He weighs in the balances of the sanctuary, and His just measure we shall all accept. 2T 438.3

You err in your course toward your husband. You need to cultivate more gentleness and deference toward him. You are exacting. You carry matters to extremes and do harm to your own soul and to the truth. You make the truth repulsive and cause souls to be afraid of it. Let love soften your words and give tone to your actions, and you will find a change in those with whom you associate. There will be peace, union, and harmony, instead of strife, jealousy, and discord. Let love and tenderness be exercised, especially in your family, and you will receive a blessing. 2T 439.1