Manuscript Releases, vol. 15 [Nos. 1136-1185]


Seek Peace Without Compromise

Christ enjoins upon His followers to “love your enemies, ... do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” He would have us love those who oppress us and do us harm. We must not express in words and acts the spirit they manifest, but improve every opportunity to do them good. 15MR 158.1

But while we are required to be Christlike toward those who are our enemies, we must not, in order to have peace, cover up the faults of those we see in error. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, never purchased peace by covering iniquity, or by anything like compromise. Though His heart was constantly overflowing with love for the whole human race, He was never indulgent to their sins. He was too much their friend to remain silent while they were pursuing a course which would ruin their souls—the souls He had purchased with His own blood. He was a stern reprover of all vice; and His peace was the consciousness of having done the will of His Father, rather than a condition of things that existed as the result of having done His duty. 15MR 158.2

He labored that man should be true to himself in being all that God would have him, and true to his higher and eternal interest. Living in a world marred and seared with the curse brought upon it by disobedience, He could not be at peace with it unless He left it unwarned, uninstructed, and unrebuked. This would be to purchase peace at the neglect of duty. 15MR 158.3

Everyone who loves Jesus and the souls for whom He died will follow after the things that make for peace. But His followers are to take special care lest in their efforts to prevent discord, the truth is surrendered, lest in warding off divisions, they make a sacrifice of its principles. True brotherhood can never be maintained by compromising principle. As surely as Christians approach the Christlike model, and become more and more pure in spirit and in action, searching out and reproving sin, so surely will they experience the strength and venom of that old serpent the devil. The opposition of the children of disobedience is excited by a Christianity that is spiritual. 15MR 158.4

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” A duty is here enjoined upon us. We are to strive to live at peace with all men. Every care should be taken on the part of Christians to give no offense, that the truth be not evil spoken of. But the text suggests that no amount of diligence and care will preserve this harmony in all cases. Dissensions will arise even between individual members of the church, because they are not Christlike in character. 15MR 159.1

But there will be a point where members must be separated from its fellowship because of their unchristian course of action. In the home they are oppressive and a reproach to the cause of Christ. Their practices are inconsistent with truth and religion, and to retain them in church fellowship would be faithless to the Master. 15MR 159.2

The church, as a body, is to do all in its power to promote union and prevent schisms. This rule is designed to guide every individual member in his treatment of others. If unsound doctrine is introduced, it will endanger the flock of Christ. It is the duty of those in authority, who are jealous for the truth as it is in Jesus, to make a firm, decided protest. This expression of rebuke will often be used to create sympathy for the reproved. The harm that is thus done to precious souls and to Christ's kingdom is not considered. At this crisis is the time to decide who are God's faithful sentinels, who will be true to principle; who will bear in mind that truth is too dearly purchased for its least principle to be surrendered. 15MR 159.3

That peace and harmony is not worthy of the name which is secured by mutual concessions to avoid all differences of opinion. On points of feeling between man and man, concessions should sometimes be made; but never should one iota of principle be sacrificed in order to obtain harmony. All our words and actions pass in review before God, and if we wish to stand in the judgment as having done all that we could to have a correct influence over our fellowmen, we must repay kind acts for acts of mischief and malice. Christ is our Pattern; He would have us follow Him. 15MR 160.1

To those who have been injured without a cause, the words of this scripture apply, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Their failure to comply with the instruction given in the text is not due to the course of action that they themselves have pursued, but to the envy, jealousy, and evil surmising of those who have been in the wrong. Thus a division is caused. How can it be healed? Shall the man that has been sinned against, misjudged, and maligned be called to account, to find something in his past course by which he can humiliate himself, and acknowledge himself in the wrong for the sake of making peace? No. If he has conscientiously gone forward under the oppression of wicked feelings that have been welcomed in the hearts of the fault-finding, if he has been patient under the abuse, if he has tried to do his duty, he is not to humble himself to acknowledge that he is guilty. He does the offenders a great wrong thus to take their guilt upon his soul, admitting that he has given them occasion for their course of action, when he has done no such thing. This is very gratifying to those who have done the work of the enemy; but heaven's books record the facts just as they stand. 15MR 160.2

Concessions that are not true from the one who has been wrongfully treated gratifies the feelings of the carnal heart. Their position has been interpreted by them as zeal for God, when in truth it is zeal to do the work of the adversary of souls. They do not dig out from their hearts the root of bitterness, but leave the fibers to spring up when Satan shall stir them up again to active growth. But the axe must be laid at the root of the tree. Heart work is needed. True conversion is essential; the nature must be renewed after the divine image, until the work of grace is completed in the soul. 15MR 161.1

There is a work for us to do. We must begin here to cultivate the meekness of Christ. There are stern battles for us to fight against our traits of character which lead us to err in decisions that will make it hard and unfavorable for others. This is giving advantage to the enemy. We are not commended for a zeal that savors of Phariseeism, for this is not of Christ. We should not go to an extreme in false charity, neither of unbending severity in cases where kindness and mercy and love would have a telling power.—Manuscript 23b, 1896, pp. 2-6. (Written July 25, 1896, “Peace, How to Secure.”) 15MR 161.2

The Lord is not pleased with the position of those who have a knowledge of the truth but do not keep it. They do not practice the truth. In their soul the love of Christ is eclipsed. Their principles of action are not sanctified, righteous, holy. Self is the supreme idol. By the words they speak, they show that they have given themselves over to do Satan's work, to drop seeds which will produce tares. They repeat words that were spoken to them in confidence, and betray their friends. Anything that will cut the threads of union between brother and brother, between sister and sister, is looked upon as a worthy action. Satan stands by and laughs to think that he can so easily inspire the tongue to utter words which will kindle a fire not easily quenched. 15MR 161.3

Some tattle and criticize, finding fault with everything, when they might easily find something to approve. Their words might encourage; they might leave a sweet, fragrant influence behind them; but is otherwise. Their words create strife and disaffection, and evil angels are close beside them. These are the ones who think they see something that they must reprove, but do not try to see that which is worthy of commendation. If they would commend where it is just and right to commend, they would give strength to righteous purposes and principles. 15MR 162.1

The men who hold positions of trust in our institutions should be men who appreciate the love of God, who realize their own weakness, who remember their own mistakes and errors and feel too much humbled in consequence to think that God has given them a special duty to criticize and place themselves as far off as they can from their own fellowmen. This is Satan's inspiration. Shall we provoke the Lord to anger by our idolatrous sentiments and selfish up-building, so that He will leave us to follow on in our own supposed wisdom and self-sufficiency, till He proves us, and reveals the true character of our service? “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” The Lord is against all self-sufficiency. He cannot work with His people because they will not use His blessings aright, but glorify themselves. 15MR 162.2

“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself,” Christ declared, “that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” 15MR 163.1

Here is defined the exalted position we should occupy. Let busybodies and accusers be visited and rebuked. If after thorough labor, they do not hold their tongues in check, they should be suspended from church membership.—Manuscript 43a, 1898, pp. 12-14. (Written March 22, 1898, “The Laborer Is Worthy of His Hire.”) 15MR 163.2