Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Ms 68, 1896

Criticizing, Condemning, and All Evil Speaking To Be Put Away

NP

December 26, 1896 [typed]

Formerly Undated Ms 144. This manuscript is published in entirety in PC 356-360.

It is the duty of God’s servants to work constantly with an eye single to His honor and glory. No man’s person is to be respected or looked upon with admiration if his heart and soul are not enlisted in the work of God, unless he seeks to carry forward that work with self-sacrificing efforts. There are those who think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. They speak evil of their brethren because after a thing is done they can look back and tell how differently they would have done it, but their forethought would not have been any better than that of their brethren had they been in their place. God sees that faults and imperfections have characterized the lives of the very ones who speak evil of their brethren. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 1

Keep yourselves off the judgment seat. All judgment is committed unto the Son of God. Your words and your works will not be judged according to the light in which you view them, but according to God’s unerring standard. By uniting and talking with those who have grievances, by emptying your heart of all the hard feelings and wounds and bruises you have sustained, you have made great blunders. God will hold you accountable for every seed of that kind which you have sown in human hearts. Satan will water that seed and inspire you with all the bitterness and evil speaking and wrath and malice that he can. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 2

Oh, how can anyone suppose that he can be in harmony with Christ and indulge in this cruel and wicked work? All who do so are departing from the Word of God, disregarding that Word, and failing to act out the lessons of Jesus Christ. Talking with solemn earnestness the Counsellor has said: “There are many who, when their own ideas and will are crossed, reveal a bitterness of spirit. They cherish the same feelings as an unconverted man. They watch for an opportunity to complain, and thus set a wrong example for others.” “In that day,” declares the Word of God, “shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek shall also increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off; that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.” [Isaiah 29:18-21.] 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 3

Here is one man professing to be a Bible Christian. But if everything does not harmonize with his ideas, he looks upon himself as abused. He feels justified in making a great fire out of a spark. Another brother in connection with the work of God thinks that he has been treated unjustly. What if he has? Does not the Lord know all about that? It would not be surprising if the human agent did not know himself, for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 4

A condition of things has been coming into existence that is not after the order of Christ. Those who look for evil, who are ready to charge those who do not meet all their expectations by accommodating them and carrying out their ideas with evil, who feel at liberty to judge their brethren and misconstrue their motives, are not Christians. Those who encourage and sustain persons who are not walking in the ways of the Lord are aiding Satan by doing his work. They are not feeding on Christ, the Bread from heaven. They have ever lived for self. Self has been their center. As long as they can be first, all goes well. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 5

I wish my brethren who shall read the words I am placing on paper to carefully consider that which I present before them. No man liveth for himself. Whatever course of action the human agent may pursue, others are influenced. God alone knows the extent of this individual responsibility. Apparent influence may be deceiving; real influence requires all that there is of a man. Whatever the position or surroundings of old or young, they carry with them an influence. Their responsibility is great. No one can be lax, self-indulgent, self-serving, and be counted worthy of eternal life. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 6

Never let your tongue and voice by employed in discovering and dilating upon the defects of your brethren, for the record of heaven identifies Christ’s interests with those He has purchased with His own blood. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,” He says, “ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:40.] We are to learn to be loyal to one another, to be true as steel in the defense of our brethren. Look to your own defects. You had better discover one of your own faults than ten of your brother’s. Remember that Christ has prayed for these, His brethren, that they all might be one as He is one with the Father. Seek to the uttermost of your capabilities to be in harmony with your brethren to the extent of Christ’s measurement, as He is one with the Father. Then your evil thinking and evil speaking will cease. You will not become bitter and hard against them because they do not make enough of your merits and show special partiality to you. Those who are missionaries for the Master will have the spirit of truth and righteousness. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 7

“Love as brethren; be pitiful; be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] True moral worth does not seek to have a place for itself by evil thinking and evil speaking, by demeriting others. All envy, all jealousy, all evil speaking, with all unbelief, must be put away from God’s children. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 8

Satan works zealously to cause men to offend on this point. Those whose tongues are so free to utter words of criticism, the adroit questioner who draws out expressions and opinions which have been put into the minds by sowing seeds of alienation, are his missionaries. They may repeat the expressions they draw from others as originating with the ones they so slyly led on to forbidden ground. These persons seem always to see something to criticize and condemn. They treasure up everything of a disagreeable nature, and then leaven others. Their tongues are ready to exaggerate everything evil. What a great matter a little fire kindleth! They scatter their fire brands, putting doubts and mistrust into other minds, falsifying because they view everything in a false light. Thus neighbors and churches are leavened. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 9

Jesus said to His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” [Matthew 16:6.] His voice comes sounding down the lines to our time, “Beware of that misrepresenting tongue, which is not content unless leagued with the disaffected, with those who are tempted to think that they have been misused.” Self, self, self is their theme. They have become envious and jealous, and Satan has helped them, putting his magnifying glass before their eyes, until a mote looks to them like a mountain, and they think themselves the most abused persons in the world. With a beam on their own eye, they are very much interested in pulling the mote out of their brother’s eye. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 10

It is satanic to be an accuser of the brethren, to delight to tell of the imperfections and wrongs of others. Those who suppose themselves to be God’s missionaries, and yet work upon the minds of those who are weak and inexperienced in the faith, may see the time, if they are converted, when they will wish to counteract their past work. But it is not an easy matter to do this. Eternity alone will reveal on whose side everyone has been working, and the good or ill they have wrought. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 11

Shall the attributes of the enemy be revealed in the life-practice of professed Christians? Shall men who put on the armor and stand as faithful sentinels for God, refusing to favor any man and seeking to do the work God has given them to do with humble faith and sincerity, be despised by men who know not that they have given themselves to do the work of Satan? Oh how much better it would be if those who thus judge others would themselves feed on the flesh and blood of the Son of God, studying and practicing the Word of God! 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 12

Men who have large opinions of themselves are often in error, but they will not confess this. Envy and jealousy are diseases which disorder all the faculties of the being. They originated with Satan in Paradise. After he had started on the track of apostasy, he could see many things that were objectionable. After he fell, he envied Adam and Eve in their innocency. He tempted them to sin, and to become like himself, disloyal to God. Those who accept of his attributes will demerit others, misrepresent and falsify in order to build up themselves. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 13

These persons are generally incurable, and as nothing that defileth can enter heaven, they will not be there. They would criticize the angels. They would covet another’s crown. They would not know what to do, or what subjects to converse upon unless they could be finding some errors, some imperfections, in others. Oh that such ones would be changed by following Christ! Oh that they would become meek and lowly of heart by learning in the school of Christ! Then they would go forth, not as missionaries for Satan, to cause disunion and alienation, but as missionaries for Christ, to be peacemakers, to work with Christ in restoring, not to bruise and mangle character. Let the Holy Spirit of God come in and expel this unholy passion, which cannot in the slightest degree survive in heaven. Let it die. Let it be crucified. Open the heart to the attributes of Christ who was pure, holy, undefiled, without guilt. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 14

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Proverbs 4:23.] The Word of God tells us that the heart is to be kept as a temple, holy unto God. The unconverted heart is represented as a habitation for the evil one, who brings in a whole brood of unholy thoughts and stirs up the natural passions. But the Spirit of God must cleanse the soul from its defilement. Every room must be purified. The conscience must be quickened by the Holy Spirit. Truth must take hold of the thoughts and actions. Holy vigilance must keep guard to spy out the approach of the enemy. Woe unto that man who falls asleep and lets the enemy take possession of his house. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 15

Genuine conversion is needed, not once in years, but daily. This conversion brings a man into new relation with God. Old things, his natural temper, natural passions, and hereditary traits of character, pass away, and the man is renewed, converted, sanctified. But this work needs to be continued or else the heart will become estranged from God; for just as long as Satan lives, he will make an effort to carry out his will. The human agent will constantly encounter a strong undercurrent. His heart needs to be barricaded by faithful watchfulness and unceasing prayer, else the embankment will give way, and like a mill stream, the undercurrent of natural and cultivated tendencies will sweep away the safeguard. Then the old objectionable traits of character will assert their sway. No renewed heart can keep in a condition of sweetness and grace without the application of the salt of the Word. Divine grace must be applied daily, else no man will stay converted. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 16

It is the sufferings of our Redeemer in His life and death that makes it possible for fallen man to become refined and elevated. As the divine substitute and surety, He elevates the fallen race in character, and brings their minds into healthful sympathy with the divine mind. Those who are partakers of the divine nature see that trueheartedness means continual humiliation, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Those who have spiritual eyesight will discern that God does not honor those who are honored by the world, but those who are true to principle. 11LtMs, Ms 68, 1896, par. 17