Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work


Chapter 19—Treatment of Erring Pupils

In Sabbath-school work we shall be called upon to deal with those who make mistakes, who fall into sin and error. Christ has given us lessons in His Word that are very plain in regard to the treatment of the erring; but many have failed to practise these lessons. They have not studied and treasured them in the heart, so that the Holy Spirit could enlighten the darkened understanding, and melt and break the stony heart of both teacher and pupil. The Holy Spirit will make the heart sensitive, sympathetic, and rid it of pride and selfishness. TSS 77.2

Pupils in Sabbath-school are likely to do that which will annoy the teacher, by their misconduct. But the teacher must not speak sharp words, and manifest an uncontrolled spirit; for in so doing he will not be using the sword of the Spirit, but the weapons of Satan. Although the misconduct of the scholar is trying, although the evil must be corrected, the rules observed, and justice respected, yet let the teacher keep the way of the Lord, and mingle mercy with justice. Let him look to the cross of Calvary, beholding there how mercy and truth have met together, how righteousness and peace have kissed each other. There, through the divine sacrifice, man may be reconciled to God. In contemplating the love of Christ, your heart will be softened to deal with the youth as with younger members of the Lord's family. You will remember that they are Christ's property, and your disposition will be to deal with them after the manner in which Christ has dealt with you. TSS 78.1

Harsh dealing will never help the youth to see his errors, or aid him to reform. Let the rules and regulations of the school be carried out in the Spirit of Jesus, and when reproof must be given, let this disagreeable work be done with sorrow blended with love. Do not feel that it is your work to openly rebuke the pupil, and thus humiliate him before the whole school. This will not be a proper example to set before the children, for it will be as seed that will bear a like harvest. Never publish the errors of any pupil outside the circle in which they must be known; for, if this is done, sympathy will be created for the wrongdoer, by leaving an impression on the mind that he has been dealt with unjustly. By exposing the wrong-doer, he may be thrown upon Satan's battle-field, and from that moment go steadily downward. Christ bears long with us, and we must be Christlike. He does not cut us off because of our errors, but reproves in tenderness, and by love draws us close to Himself. TSS 78.2