Ms 103, 1894

Ms 103, 1894

Offending Christ's Little Ones


Circa 1894

Previously unpublished.

“And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren and judge righteously between man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's; and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, (Moses) and I will hear it.” [Deuteronomy 1:16, 17.] 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 1

In dealing with the erring, bring tenderness into your appeals, and do not by reproof stir up the worst passions of the human heart, and make those whom you would correct defiant, hard, and unimpressionable. Mercy, gentleness, and tenderness will melt the rock-bound soul. Let every teacher labor not to preserve his dignity and authority, but to fill the atmosphere with kind words, with the precious rays of Christ's sunbeams, and drop seeds of truth to find a lodgment in the hearts of the pupils. Let no act, no word, no matter of dress be of a character that will lead away from Christ and his word. Your unsympathetic spirit, your cold appearance, may start a soul in the road that leads to perdition. You may draw, you may win, but you can never force and drive a soul. Influence for good or evil grows with our growth and strengthens with our strength. The expression of the eye, the compression of the lips, the tones of the voice, the movement of the person, will either be as a sunbeam or as a desolating hail to beat down the precious plants of love. We cannot prevent persons from sizing us up that which we say and do, and our profession will have simply the value that we give it by the deeds we do. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 2

O, in the judgment, when you look upon the faces of those you have had in your charge, how gladly would you take back words you have spoken that have cut the last thread of influence you have had with souls for whom Christ suffered and died. How gladly would you erase a word of censure, of rebuke, of judgment, and place in its stead a word of love! How gladly would you change a frown for a smile! All you are required to do is to copy Jesus. By beholding him, your character will be changed. Character is power. Do not be so anxious about your reputation as about your character. Be determined that you will have a Christ-like character. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 3

Shall we who have been sought for when we were lost forget how God has dealt with us? Shall we forget the wonderful compassion of a merciful God, and refuse to be kind and merciful to children and youth? The story of the ungrateful debtor is presented before us to represent the difference between the way in which the compassionate lord dealt with a debtor and the way the debtor treated one who owed him a few pence. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” [Matthew 18:15.] Those who receive forgiveness from God must enter into the spirit of forgiveness. Unless those who seek forgiveness from God, are willing to give the same treatment to others, they cannot be forgiven. God will deal with them as they deal with their brethren. Shall we to whom the Lord has shown mercy work on the principles of strict justice? Some have done, and many are still doing, as the man in the parable did. The Lord does not limit his grace to the sinner who is seeking his forgiveness and love; but when the sinner receives of God's unlimited grace, richly and freely given, it should result in lowliness of mind in the recipient. The man who is forgiven of God should not be found putting forth the finger and speaking vanity. He should not be found putting down the others in oppression, and lifting up himself. In meekness and lowliness of mind, we should receive the heavenly gift, realizing that we are debtors to God, and in gratitude reflecting upon others the mercy bestowed upon us. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 4

When our hearts are filled with gratitude, when we realize our entire dependence upon a power not our own, but given to us of God we are softened and subdued; and by the grace of Christ our characters are renewed and changed. The uncomely self is hidden in Christ's righteousness; and day by day the character unfolded will be like that of Christ. He who is controlled by the grace of Christ will shape his course of action in such a way that those who need help will be helped and uplifted. He will not bestow his attention on a few who are favorites who say “Right, right” to everything he does; but he will see to save those who are lost, and will feel deep sympathy for those who are faulty, who often turn aside from his counsel, just as he has turned aside from the doing of the will of God. All the beings Christ has made with whom we have been associated have been guilty of sin, and have wronged Jesus Christ, their best friend. But if we see souls about us doing harm to themselves by manifesting ingratitude toward God, if we are enlightened, we are to deal with them as we should wish others to deal with us, and in the same way in which our Saviour has dealt with us. In no case are we to humiliate them simply because we feel like so doing. While we do a think of this kind, let us not boast of tenderness of heart; for we have it no. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 5

If we have the tenderness and gentleness of Christ, we shall put ourselves in the place of the wrong-doer and study from cause to effect and be wise in the way we handle the case, showing tact and Christlike patience. We shall have deep longing of soul not to destroy, but to see the soul converted. We are to remember that tempted souls are under the bewitching power of Satan and that they occupy the same position toward God as that which we have occupied. We are not to offend the soul of the wrong-doer, by needless harshness. Many who we may think incorrigible, who put on an air of bravado, because they wish to conceal their real feelings of remorse, will melt under tenderness and sympathy. Instead of seeking to make them appear in the worst possible light before others, shield them from exposure. By dealing with them in a stern way, you may help Satan in fastening them in their sin, and thus be the means of their destruction. They feel guilty, God is looking upon you but not with approbation as you cut them loose from all religious influences. Instead of treating an offender in this way, treat him as you would wish to be treated under similar circumstances as you would wish to be treated under similar circumstances as you would wish God to treat you if you were remiss in duty. Let fall upon every delinquent the rich rays of mercy and forgiveness that God is shedding upon you. Draw the evil-doer away from Satan and do not thrust him into his power. There is nothing that will harden the heart, and cut off your influence and make of no effect your discipline, like making public the errors of one at fault. To take such a course is to take a course that you would not think proper in your own case. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 6

Unless the spirit of Christ abides in the heart, it is a hard thing to put yourself in another's place. You may feel it your duty to exact as far as possible the uttermost farthing, and may do all that you can to make the case appear as heinous as possible before the associates of the offender; but the repetition of an offenders faults has an effect just the opposite from the one you design to bring about; for those who are inclined to evil, are aroused to desire to go over the ground and do the very deed that one did whom you publicly condemn, as they think without mercy or justice. A “don't care spirit” takes possession of many, and they leave your presence indignant at the ways you have dealt with an offender, and whenever your name is read or they hear of you or see you, this unpleasant remembrance, like an ugly, rugged scar appears before their minds. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 7

Christ's way is always the best way. He does not treat sin as a trivial matter; but while he hates sin, he loves the sinner. The sunbeams of his righteousness, his goodness, his compassion, are not withheld from an offender; and as a ray of light in a dark room will bring to light motes of dust that were not before seen, so the ray of Christ's righteousness will expose the sinner's errors. We all need the continual rays of the Son of Righteousness that our errors may be revealed; and do not those who are wholly in darkness, need the light of heaven in order that they may understand how hateful is sin to God? 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 8

Those who are connected with our schools should every hour exert an influence that would soften and subdue hearts; and yet this influence has not been exerted as it should have been, and as God requires that it shall be. Teachers should win the love and confidence of children and you by being kind, by making them happy, by shedding an atmosphere of brightness about them. Those who are perverse and stubborn should be kindly dealt with, but never should they be expelled unless it is positively necessary. In expelling refractory pupils you make manifest the fact that you see moral evils, but can devise no way to correct them, them, and can only cut off the diseased member. You will have lessons to learn in regard to yourself of which you have not yet dreamed. You need the wisdom that cometh down from above, that 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 3:17, 18.] 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 9

Learn of Jesus to be kind. Everyone has a will and a conscience and he needs to have the rule of right doing placed before him in the most simple, distinct manner, in order that he may be convinced that it is best to yield obedience to the rule. Instructors should take pains to so simplify their many orders and rules that there will be no difficulty in having them commended by the pupils when presented by suitable authority. We are all grown up children, and God is teaching us by showing us our faults and mistakes. We are to learn the lesson that God's grace is our only dependence. Let no one flatter himself that he makes no mistakes or the testing and proving will show to the contrary. Paul says, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:10.] It is when we have a realization of our weakness that we learn to depend on a power not inherent, but in God who is able to save unto the uttermost. 9LtMs, Ms 103, 1894, par. 10