Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 101, 1894

Offending Christ’s Little Ones, No. 1



Previously unpublished.

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences: for it must needs be that offences come; but woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh.” [Matthew 18:3-7.] 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 1

[Even among those] who profess to be Christians, hereditary and cultivated evil traits of character exist. Some have inherited and cultivated a passionate temper, which if not firmly restrained and through the grace of Christ overcome, will be a power for evil. Such persons will offend the little ones because of a lack of Christlike meekness and lowliness of heart. Self-importance, self-sufficiency always leads away from Christ. Those who cherish self-importance will manifest impatience and fail to reveal the forbearance of Christ. They will not have a proper consideration for others. Those in official position in their association with others should make it as easy as possible for those under their charge to take heed to the direction of God’s Word, to obey those that have the rule over them. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 2

It is always right to remember that all minds are not constituted alike, and it is a death struggle for some to surrender their will in submission to those who are placed over them. Teachers should be very careful to comport themselves in such a way that their pupils will be drawn to follow their example. They should be circumspect in deportment, and meet a higher standard themselves than that which they desire their pupils to reach, because their office and experience are much more advanced. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 3

It is very important that our teachers in school and church capacity should ever be leaders themselves, and they should study Christ’s method, and learn how to deal successfully with minds. In our educational institutions there has been great imperfection in this line. Teachers have been entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with children who have not educated themselves to strict discipline in all their habits. Yet they expect that the children and youth, who have had little experience, will be far beyond that which, when under trial and temptation, they themselves practice. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 4

God requires that young men and young women should learn lessons in the school of Christ and be doers of the Word, so that they can take the very position they wish their pupils to take when placed under their care. There are teachers in our institutions who are not fit to deal with human minds. They are themselves bundles of inconsistencies, and instead of going onward, taking one advance step after another in order to attain perfection of character, they are fitful, changeable, and only move as they happen to feel or as the spell takes them. If they happen to feel pleasant, they manifest this in their deportment; but if their feelings change, then their actions accord with the change. If they are given to unbelief, to resistance to God, they will be overbearing, and fail to manifest Christlike patience and longsuffering, gentleness, and love. Those who act upon suspicion and manifest jealousy toward those with whom they are associated show that they have a narrow mind and belittling habits that will not be manifested in those who practice true Christianity. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 5

Those who have moral superiority, who have a refined, sanctified intellect, will blend compassion and mercy with justice in dealing with the erring. Teachers who themselves have hard work to cast out every idol, “to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” [2 Corinthians 7:1], need to manifest divine compassion toward children and youth. Those who profess Christ, who have had years of experience, ought to know how hard it is to be censured and reproved. A course of severity pursued toward persons of certain tendencies will drive them into sin, and sometimes into desperation and fearful crimes. When they have committed evil, those who have censured them think that their opinions and actions have been verified and justified. But the fact of the matter is, that because of a lack of Christlike love, of sanctified patience and forbearance, they were led to walk in Satan’s path. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 6

Those who claimed to have a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent into the world, have done these souls incalculable harm. Instead of drawing them to Jesus, away from sin, away from gins and nets which Satan has set for them, they have manifested their own spirit, followed their own will and way, and became agents for Satan to help him to control the purposes and minds of those whose errors were not deadly sins. These students should have been tenderly reproved, but no action should have been taken to humiliate them before the school. To humiliate those who err before others so that their punishment may be the greater is not a Christlike way of doing, and creates in the culprit a feeling of hatred toward the reprover. Always keep as far as possible from pursuing a course that will lead those you would reprove to lose all self respect. In taking a course to humiliate others before those with whom they are associated, you make it evident that your own heart is not softened and subdued by the tenderness and compassion of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 7

Let those who have been assigned positions of trust in our institutions of learning and publishing never forget that if they deal rigidly and fail to blend mercy and compassion in their dealings with the erring, God will deal after this manner with them. The very laws you rigidly enforce upon others, God will enforce upon you. If you have formed a standard of discipline that lacks tenderness, so that those in your charge shall be deeply humiliated for sins that are pardonable, then God will judge you according to your acknowledged standard of righteousness. I have been shown that in the judgment there will be an army of souls lost because those with whom they were associated did not deal with them in compassion, in tenderness, and manifest forbearance toward them that the leaders would wish to have exercised toward them were they placed in similar circumstances. The golden rule [should be followed]—“As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” [Luke 6:31.] 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 8

For years I have received letters from teachers and from church elders inquiring, “What shall we do with those who cause us much perplexity? Shall we drop their names from the church books and expel them from our schools?” My answer has been, “Deal with the erring as you would like to have the Lord deal with you when you err from His ways and do those things that are not pleasing in His sight.” In spirit and in practice you should be what you would be if Jesus were visibly present, for He is present, though unseen. He is about your path and spieth out all your ways. You may cherish the idea of the presence of God, or you may dismiss all such thoughts from your mind. To Abraham the Lord said, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” [Genesis 17:1.] These words are spoken to every soul, and the question is, will you heed them? 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 9

In every department of the work, the standard of education must be of a higher order, and this will be the result when the divine Presence is discerned, for then we shall walk before the Lord and be perfect through His grace given unto us. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] When all is done that can be done according to the Bible rule, when you have manifested the gentleness, the compassion, the love that Christ has manifested toward you, and still the unruly or erring one does not reform, what then? I would still urge forbearance. I would still plead that those who have the spirit of Christ should put forth more effort, considering well the effect of every action. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” [James 5:19, 20.] 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 10

There are many who have the same spirit as was manifested by the Pharisees. They do not see the defects of their own characters, but they can readily discern the defects of others and pass sentence of condemnation upon those whom they criticize. They do not seek to save those who are lost, yet this is the highest kind of service we can render to God. Many flatter themselves that they are exceedingly tender-hearted, and that they have to guard themselves lest they err on the side of compassion. But these very ones have been presented to me as greatly in need of [the] forbearance and gentleness of Christ. There is danger of being self-deceived in this matter. It is always safest for us to have modest views of our own virtues, and be constantly seeking to attain perfection of Christian character. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 11

Let every soul, even he who flatters himself that he has a super abundance of compassion, heed these words: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to the which ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:12-17.] 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 12

Let this lesson be carried out in all its bearings in the spirit of Christ, and every soul will be clear in the judgment of the blood of souls. The Lord has presented to me the fact that many will be surprised when they meet the record of their lives because of the way they have treated those in the church, in our institutions for the relief of the sick, in our houses of publication, and in our schools. Decided changes will have to be made, or else many who have neglected to be merciful, as well as just and honest, will find that they can have no part in the kingdom of heaven. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” [Romans 12:9.] “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” [Hebrews 12:13.] This is the word of the Lord, but it was been greatly neglected. 9LtMs, Ms 101, 1894, par. 13