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Essentials to Service

Sympathy

God desires to unite His workers by a common sympathy, a pure affection. It is the atmosphere of Christlike love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life, and enables God to bless his efforts. Christianity builds no walls of separation between man and his fellow-man, but binds human beings to God and to one another. GW 140.1

Mark how tender and pitiful the Lord is in His dealings with His creatures. He loves His erring child, and entreats him to return. The Father's arm is placed about His repentant son; the Father's garments cover his rags; the ring is placed upon his finger as a token of his royalty. And yet how many there are who look upon the prodigal not only with indifference, but with contempt. Like the Pharisee, they say, “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men,” [Luke 18:11.] But how, think you, does God look upon those who, while claiming to be co-workers with Christ, while the soul is making its struggle against the flood of temptation, stand by like the elder brother in the parable, stubborn, self-willed, selfish? GW 140.2

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How little do we enter into sympathy with Christ on that which should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him,—compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! The inhumanity of man toward man is our greatest sin. Many think that they are representing the justice of God, while they wholly fail of representing His tenderness and His great love. Often the ones whom they meet with sternness and severity are under the stress of temptation. Satan is wrestling with these souls, and harsh, unsympathetic words discourage them, and cause them to fall a prey to the tempter's power.... GW 140.3

We need more Christlike sympathy; not merely sympathy for those who appear to us to be faultless, but sympathy for poor, suffering, struggling souls, who are often overtaken in fault, sinning and repenting, tempted and discouraged. We are to go to our fellow-men, touched, like our merciful High Priest, with the feeling of their infirmities.—The Ministry of Healing, 163, 164. GW 141.1