Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 68—Social Relationships

A Branch of Education Not to Be Neglected—Christian sociability is altogether too little cultivated by God's people. This branch of education should not be neglected or lost sight of in our schools.—Testimonies for the Church 6:172 (1900). 2MCP 621.1

Social Advantages Are Talents—Those who possess large affections are under obligation to God to bestow them, not merely on their friends, but on all who need their help. Social advantages are talents and are to be used for the benefit of all within reach of our influence.—Christ's Object Lessons, 353 (1900). 2MCP 621.2

Not Independent Atoms—Students should be taught that they are not independent atoms but that each one is a thread which is to unite with other threads in composing a fabric. In no department can this instruction be more effectually given than in the school home. Here students are daily surrounded by opportunities which, if improved, will greatly aid in developing the social traits of their characters. It lies in their own power so to improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful. 2MCP 621.3

Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to be drawn upon to bless others by friendly associations, lose many blessings; for by mutual contact, minds receive polish and refinement; by social intercourse, acquaintances are formed and friendships contracted which result in a unity of heart and an atmosphere of love which is pleasing in the sight of heaven.—Testimonies for the Church 6:172 (1900). 2MCP 621.4

Importance of Social Relationships—It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Every man or woman who has tasted of the love of Christ and has received into the heart the divine illumination is required of God to shed light on the dark pathway of those who are unacquainted with the better way.… Social power, sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, must be improved to win souls to the Saviour.—Testimonies for the Church 4:555 (1881). 2MCP 622.1

Social Elements to Be Cultivated—We sustain a loss when we neglect the privilege of associating together to strengthen and encourage one another in the service of God. The truths of His Word lose their vividness and importance in our minds. Our hearts cease to be enlightened and aroused by their sanctifying influence, and we decline in spirituality. In our association as Christians we lose much by lack of sympathy with one another. He who shuts himself up to himself is not filling the position that God designed he should. The proper cultivation of the social elements in our nature brings us into sympathy with others and is a means of development and strength to us in the service of God.—Steps to Christ, 101 (1892). 2MCP 622.2

Jesus Was Highly Social—The Saviour's entire life was characterized by disinterested benevolence and the beauty of holiness. He is our pattern of goodness. From the beginning of His ministry, men began to comprehend more clearly the character of God. He carried out His teachings in His own life. He showed consistency without obstinacy, benevolence without weakness, tenderness and sympathy without sentimentalism. He was highly social, yet He possessed a reserve that discouraged any familiarity. His temperance never led to bigotry or austerity. He was not conformed to the world, yet He was attentive to the wants of the least among men.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 262 (1913). 2MCP 622.3

Social Kindliness and Dignity of Humanity—At the table of the publicans He sat as an honored guest, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. Upon their thirsty hearts His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and to these outcasts of society there opened the possibility of a new life.—The Ministry of Healing, 26 (1905). 2MCP 623.1

Disciples Taught True Social Duties—Christ taught His disciples how to conduct themselves when in the company of others. He instructed them in regard to the duties and regulations of true social life, which are the same as the laws of the kingdom of God. He taught the disciples, by example, that when attending any public gathering, they need not want for something to say. His conversation when at a feast differed most decidedly from that which had been listened to at feasts in the past. Every word He uttered was a savor of life unto life. He spoke with clearness and simplicity. His words were as apples of gold in pictures of silver.—The Review and Herald, October 2, 1900. (My Life Today, 190.) 2MCP 623.2

Not to Renounce Social Communion—The example of Christ in linking Himself with the interests of humanity should be followed by all who preach His word and by all who have received the gospel of His grace. We are not to renounce social communion. We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes we must meet them where they are. They will seldom seek us of their own accord. Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment.—The Desire of Ages, 152 (1898). 2MCP 623.3

The Need for Fellowship—The deprivation felt when people absent themselves from the gatherings of the people of God is not small. As children of God we are to place ourselves in every gathering of God, where His people are commissioned to be present, and give the word of life. All need light and all the help that can be obtained in order that when they have heard and received the precious messages from heaven, through God's appointed agents, they may be prepared to bestow upon others the light given.—Letter 117, 1896. 2MCP 624.1

Education Molds Social Fabric—The education given to the young molds the whole social fabric. Throughout the world, society is in disorder, and a thorough transformation is needed. Many suppose that better educational facilities, greater skill, and more recent methods will set things right. They profess to believe and receive the living oracles, and yet they give the Word of God an inferior position in the great framework of education. That which should stand first is made subordinate to human inventions.—Testimonies for the Church 6:150 (1900). 2MCP 624.2

Social Influence of Home [See chapter 20, “The Home Atmosphere.”]—The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. The Christian home is to be an object lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life. Such an illustration will be a power for good in the world. Far more powerful than any sermon that can be preached is the influence of a true home upon human hearts and lives. As the youth go out from such a home, the lessons they have learned are imparted. Nobler principles of life are introduced into other households, and an uplifting influence works in the community.—The Ministry of Healing, 352 (1905). 2MCP 624.3

Sociability a Powerful Factor—Christian kindness and sociability are powerful factors in winning the affections of the youth.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 208 (Sept 17, 1902). 2MCP 625.1

Framework of Social Life Tottering—Already the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God's requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.—The Great Controversy, 585 (1888). 2MCP 625.2

God's Regulations Prevent Social Injustice—The Lord would place a check upon the inordinate love of property and power. Great evils would result from the continued accumulation of wealth by one class, the poverty and degradation of another. Without some restraint, the power of the wealthy would become a monopoly, and the poor, though in every respect fully as worthy in God's sight, would be regarded and treated as inferior to their more prosperous brethren. 2MCP 625.3

The sense of this oppression would arouse the passions of the poorer class. There would be a feeling of despair and desperation which would tend to demoralize society and open the door to crimes of every description. The regulations that God established were designed to promote social equality. The provisions of the sabbatical year and the jubilee would, in a great measure, set right that which during the interval had gone wrong in the social and political economy of the nation.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 534 (1890). 2MCP 625.4

Ranks of Society to Prove and Develop Character—It was not the purpose of God that poverty should ever leave the world. The ranks of society were never to be equalized, for the diversity of condition which characterizes our race is one of the means by which God has designed to prove and develop character. 2MCP 626.1

Many have urged with great enthusiasm that all men should have an equal share in the temporal blessings of God, but this was not the purpose of the Creator. Christ has said that we shall have the poor always with us. The poor, as well as the rich, are the purchase of His blood; and among His professed followers, in most cases, the former serve Him with singleness of purpose, while the latter are constantly fastening their affections on their earthly treasures, and Christ is forgotten. The cares of this life and the greed for riches eclipse the glory of the eternal world. It would be the greatest misfortune that has ever befallen mankind if all were to be placed upon an equality in worldly possessions.—Testimonies for the Church 4:551, 552 (1881). 2MCP 626.2

God Outlaws Social Caste—The religion of Christ uplifts the receiver to a higher plane of thought and action, while at the same time it presents the whole human race as alike the objects of the love of God, being purchased by the sacrifice of His Son. At the feet of Jesus the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of caste or worldly preeminence. All earthly distinctions are forgotten as we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. 2MCP 626.3

The self-denial, the condescension, the infinite compassion of Him who was highly exalted in heaven puts to shame human pride, self-esteem, and social caste. Pure, undefiled religion manifests its heaven-born principles in bringing into oneness all who are sanctified through the truth. All meet as blood-bought souls, alike dependent upon Him who has redeemed them to God.—Gospel Workers, 330 (1915). 2MCP 626.4

Remedy for Social Evils—To this wise provision for the spiritual needs of his subjects [the appointment of teaching priests], Jehoshaphat owed much of his prosperity as a ruler. In obedience to God's law there is great gain. In conformity to the divine requirements there is a transforming power that brings peace and goodwill among men. If the teachings of God's Word were made the controlling influence in the life of every man and woman, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in national and in social life would find no place. From every home would go forth an influence that would make men and women strong in spiritual insight and in moral power, and thus nations and individuals would be placed on vantage ground.—Prophets and Kings, 192 (1917). 2MCP 627.1

Proper Cultivation of Social Relationships Brings Happiness—With those who lived at a distance from the tabernacle, more than a month of every year must have been occupied in attendance upon the annual feasts. This example of devotion to God should emphasize the importance of religious worship and the necessity of subordinating our selfish, worldly interests to those that are spiritual and eternal. 2MCP 627.2

We sustain a loss when we neglect the privilege of associating together to strengthen and encourage one another in the service of God. The truths of His Word lose their vividness and importance in our minds. Our hearts cease to be enlightened and aroused by the sanctifying influence, and we decline in spirituality. In our intercourse as Christians we lose much by lack of sympathy with one another. He who shuts himself up to himself is not filling the position that God designed he should. We are all children of one Father, dependent upon one another for happiness. The claims of God and of humanity are upon us. It is the proper cultivation of the social elements of our nature that brings us into sympathy with our brethren and affords us happiness in our efforts to bless others.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 541 (1890). 2MCP 627.3

Not to Be Governed by Human Standards—I am constantly presenting the need of every man doing his best as a Christian, of training himself to realize the growth, the expansion of mind, the nobility of character, which it is possible for each to have. In all that we do we are to sustain a Christlike relation to one another. We are to use every spiritual force for the carrying out of wise plans in earnest action. The gifts of God are to be used for the saving of souls. Our relations to one another are not to be governed by human standards but by divine love, the love expressed in the gift of God to our world.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 256 (1913). 2MCP 628.1

Develop Social Powers for Soul Winning—Especially should those who have tasted the love of Christ develop their social powers, for in this way they may win souls to the Saviour. Christ should not be hid away in their hearts, shut in as a coveted treasure, sacred and sweet, to be enjoyed solely by themselves; nor should the love of Christ be manifested toward those only who please their fancy. 2MCP 628.2

Students are to be taught the Christlikeness of exhibiting a kindly interest, a social disposition, toward those who are in the greatest need, even though these may not be their own chosen companions. At all times and in all places Jesus manifested a loving interest in the human family and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety. Students should be taught to follow in His steps. They should be taught to manifest Christian interest, sympathy, and love for their youthful companions, and endeavor to draw them to Jesus; Christ should be in their hearts as a well of water springing up into everlasting life, refreshing all with whom they come in contact.—Testimonies for the Church 6:172, 173 (1900). 2MCP 628.3

We should all become witnesses for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the grace of Christ, must be improved in winning souls to the Saviour. Let the world see that we are not selfishly absorbed in our own interests but that we desire others to share our blessings and privileges. Let them see that our religion does not make us unsympathetic or exacting. Let all who profess to have found Christ, minister as He did for the benefit of men.—The Desire of Ages, 152 (1898). 2MCP 629.1