Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1


Section 6—Selfishness and Self-respect

Chapter 28—Self-respect

Developing Self-respect—If we wish to do good to souls, our success with these souls will be in proportion to their belief in our belief in, and appreciation of, them. Respect shown to the struggling human soul is the sure means through Christ Jesus of the restoration of the self-respect the man has lost. Our advancing ideas of what he may become are a help we cannot ourselves fully appreciate.—Letter 50, 1893. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 280.) 1MCP 255.1

Respect for the Dignity of Man as Man—Wherever principle is not compromised, consideration of others will lead to compliance with accepted customs; but true courtesy requires no sacrifice of principle to conventionality. It ignores caste. It teaches self-respect, respect for the dignity of man as man, a regard for every member of the great human brotherhood.—Education, 240 (1903). 1MCP 255.2

Maintain Self-respect—Some with whom you are brought in contact may be rough and uncourteous, but do not, because of this, be less courteous yourself. He who wishes to preserve his own self-respect must be careful not to wound needlessly the self-respect of others. This rule should be sacredly observed toward the dullest, the most blundering. What God intends to do with these apparently unpromising ones, you do not know. He has in the past accepted persons no more promising or attractive to do a great work for Him. His Spirit, moving upon the heart, has roused every faculty to vigorous action. The Lord saw in these rough, unhewn stones precious material, which would stand the test of storm and heat and pressure. God does not see as man sees. He does not judge from appearances, but searches the heart and judges righteously.—Gospel Workers, 122, 123 (1915). 1MCP 255.3

Conscientiousness Engenders Self-respect—Men of principle need not the restriction of locks and keys; they do not need to be watched and guarded. They will deal truly and honorably at all times—alone, with no eye upon them, as well as in public. They will not bring a stain upon their souls for any amount of gain or selfish advantage. They scorn a mean act. Although no one else might know it, they would know it themselves, and this would destroy their self-respect. Those who are not conscientious and faithful in little things would not be reformed, were there laws and restrictions and penalties upon the point.—Testimony for the Physicians and Helpers of the Sanitarium 1879, 62. (Counsels on Health, 410.) 1MCP 256.1

Self-respect Must Be Firmly Cherished—Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve. One act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul by opening the door to temptation and thus weakening the power of resistance.—Health, Philanthropic, and Medical Missionary Work 1896, 28. (Counsels on Health, 295.) 1MCP 256.2

Respect for Others Measured by Self-respect—Through indulgence in sin, self-respect is destroyed; and when that is gone, respect for others is lessened; we think that others are as unrighteous as we are ourselves.—Testimonies for the Church 6:53 (1900). 1MCP 256.3

By Wrong Habits the Student Destroys Self-respect—By wrong habits he loses his power of self-appreciation. He loses self-control. He cannot reason correctly about matters that concern him most closely. He is reckless and irrational in his treatment of mind and body. By wrong habits he makes of himself a wreck. Happiness he cannot have, for his neglect to cultivate pure, healthful principles places him under the control of habits that ruin his peace. His years of taxing study are lost, for he has destroyed himself. He has misused his physical and mental powers, and the temple of the body is in ruins. He is ruined for this life and for the life to come. By acquiring earthly knowledge he thought to gain a treasure, but by laying his Bible aside he sacrificed a treasure worth everything else.—Christ's Object Lessons, 108, 109 (1900). 1MCP 257.1

Impatient Words Injure Self-respect—Those who indulge in such language [impatient words] will experience shame, loss of self-respect, loss of self-confidence, and will have bitter remorse and regret that they allowed themselves to lose self-control and speak in this way. How much better would it be if words of this character were never spoken. How much better to have the oil of grace in the heart, to be able to pass by all provocation, and bear all things with Christlike meekness and forbearance.—The Review and Herald, February 27, 1913; (Messages to Young People, 327.) 1MCP 257.2

Parents Never to Forfeit Self-respect by Thoughtless Words—Let not one word of fretfulness, harshness, or passion escape your lips. The grace of Christ awaits your demand. His Spirit will take control of your heart and conscience, presiding over your words and deeds. Never forfeit your self-respect by hasty, thoughtless words. See that your words are pure, your conversation holy. Give your children an example of that which you wish them to be.... Let there be peace, pleasant words, and cheerful countenances.—Letter 28, 1890. (Child Guidance, 219.) 1MCP 257.3

Self-respect Destroyed by Masturbation [See Child Guidance, 439-468.]—The effect of such debasing habits is not the same upon all minds. There are some children who have the moral powers largely developed, who, by associating with children that practice self-abuse, become initiated into this vice. The effect upon such will be too frequently to make them melancholy, irritable, and jealous; yet such may not lose their respect for religious worship and may not show special infidelity in regard to spiritual things. They will at times suffer keenly from feelings of remorse, and will feel degraded in their own eyes and lose their self-respect.—Testimonies for the Church 2:392 (1870). 1MCP 258.1

Do Not Destroy Self-respect—When one at fault becomes conscious of his error, be careful not to destroy his self-respect. Do not discourage him by indifference or distrust. Do not say, “Before giving him my confidence, I will wait to see whether he will hold out.” Often this very distrust causes the tempted one to stumble.—The Ministry of Healing, 167, 168 (1905). 1MCP 258.2

Self-support Increases Self-respect—Those who are endeavoring to reform should be provided with employment. None who are able to labor should be taught to expect food and clothing and shelter free of cost. For their own sake, as well as for the sake of others, some way should be devised whereby they may return an equivalent for what they receive. Encourage every effort toward self-support. This will strengthen self-respect and a noble independence. And occupation of mind and body in useful work is essential as a safeguard against temptation.—The Ministry of Healing, 177 (1905). 1MCP 258.3

Ownership Aids Poor to Gain Self-respect—The sense of being owners of their own homes would inspire them [the poor] with a strong desire for improvement. They would soon acquire skill in planning and devising for themselves; their children would be educated to habits of industry and economy, and the intellect would be greatly strengthened. They would feel that they are men, not slaves, and would be able to regain to a great degree their lost self-respect and moral independence.—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 165, 166, 1886. (The Adventist Home, 373.) 1MCP 258.4

Self-culture and Dignity—It is important for ministers of Christ to see the necessity of self-culture in order to adorn their profession and maintain a becoming dignity. Without mental training they will certainly fail in everything they undertake.—Testimonies for the Church 2:500, 501 (1870). 1MCP 259.1

Beware of Self-pity—We need to beware of self-pity. Never indulge the feeling that you are not esteemed as you should be, that your efforts are not appreciated, that your work is too difficult. Let the memory of what Christ has endured for us silence every murmuring thought. We are treated better than was our Lord. “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not” (Jeremiah 45:5).—The Ministry of Healing, 476 (1905). 1MCP 259.2

Christ Restores Self-respect—It should not be difficult to remember that the Lord desires you to lay your troubles and perplexities at His feet, and leave them there. Go to Him, saying, “Lord, my burdens are too heavy for me to carry. Wilt Thou bear them for me?” And He will answer, “I will take them. ‘With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.’ I will take your sins and will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect; for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen. Your remorse for sin I will remove.”— Letter 2, 1914 (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 519, 520.) 1MCP 259.3

Counsel to One Who Had Lost Self-respect—Jesus loves you, and He has given me a message for you. His great heart of infinite tenderness yearns over you. He sends you the message that you may recover yourself from the snare of the enemy. You may regain your self-respect. You may stand where you regard yourself, not as a failure, but as a conqueror, in and through the uplifting influence of the Spirit of God. Take hold of the hand of Christ and do not let it go.—Letter 228, 1903. (Medical Ministry, 43.) 1MCP 259.4

Cultivate Self-respect—It is not pleasing to God that you should demerit yourself. You should cultivate self-respect by living so that you will be approved by your own conscience and before men and angels.... It is your privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). While we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, the Word of God does not condemn a proper self-respect. As sons and daughters of God, we should have a conscious dignity of character, in which pride and self-importance have no part.—The Review and Herald, March 27, 1888. (Our High Calling, 143.) 1MCP 260.1