The Signs of the Times


July 16, 1902

The Grace of Courtesy


Those who work for Christ are to be pure, upright, and trustworthy, and they are also to be tender-hearted, compassionate, and courteous. Courtesy is one of the graces of the Spirit. It is an attribute of heaven. The angels never fly into a passion, never are envious or selfish. No harsh or unkind words escape their lips. If we are to be the companions of angels, we too must be refined and courteous. ST July 16, 1902, par. 1

The truth of God is designed to elevate the receiver, to refine his taste and sanctify his judgment. No man can be a Christian without having the Spirit of Christ; and if he has the Spirit of Christ, it will be manifested in a refined, courteous disposition. His character will be holy, his manners comely, his words without guile. He will cherish the love that is not easily provoked, that suffers long and is kind, that hopes all things and endures all things. ST July 16, 1902, par. 2

What Christ was in His life on this earth, that every Christian is to be. He is our example, not only in His spotless purity, but in His patience, gentleness, and winsomeness of disposition. He was firm as a rock where truth and duty were concerned, but He was invariably kind and courteous. His life was a perfect illustration of true courtesy. He had ever a kind look and a word of comfort for the needy and oppressed. ST July 16, 1902, par. 3

His presence brought a purer atmosphere into the home, and His life was as leaven working amid the elements of society. Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust publicans, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitude. He spoke a word of sympathy here, and a word there, as He saw men weary, and compelled to bear heavy burdens. He shared their burdens, and repeated to them the lessons He had learned from nature, of the love, the kindness, the goodness of God. ST July 16, 1902, par. 4

He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as children of God. ST July 16, 1902, par. 5

Tho He was a Jew, Christ mingled with the Samaritans, setting at naught the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices, He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept under their roofs, ate with them at their tables,—partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands,—taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy. ST July 16, 1902, par. 6

Jesus sat an honored guest at the table of the publicans, 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 souls His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and the possibility of a new life opened to these outcasts of society. ST July 16, 1902, par. 7

The Religion of Jesus softens whatever is hard and rough in the temper, and smooths off whatever is rugged and sharp in the manners. It is this religion that makes the words gentle and the demeanor winning. Let us learn from Christ how to combine a high sense of purity and integrity with sunniness of disposition. A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of the Gospel. ST July 16, 1902, par. 8

The principle inculcated by the injunction, “Be ye kindly affectioned one to another;” lies at the very foundation of domestic happiness. Christian courtesy should reign in every household. It has power to soften natures which without it would grow hard and rough. The wife and mother may bind her husband and children to her by strong cords if she is unvaryingly gentle and courteous in words and manner. Christian courtesy is the golden clasp that unites the members of the family in bonds of love that every day become closer and stronger. ST July 16, 1902, par. 9

Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and are at the same time rough, unkind, and uncourteous in words and deportment, have not learned of Jesus. A blustering, over-bearing, fault-finding man is not a Christian; for to be a Christian is to be Christlike. The conduct of some professing Christians is so lacking in kindness and courtesy that their good is evil spoken of. Their sincerity may not be doubted, their uprightness may not be questioned; but sincerity and uprightness will not atone for a lack of kindness and courtesy. The Christian is to be sympathetic as well as true, pitiful and courteous as well as upright and honest. ST July 16, 1902, par. 10

Kind words are as dew and gentle showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ that grace was poured into His lips, that He might “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” And the Lord bids us, “Let your speech be alway with grace,” “that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” ST July 16, 1902, par. 11

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 aroused every faculty to vigorous action. The Lord saw in these rough, unhewn stones precious material, that would stand the test of storm and heat and pressure. God sees not as man sees. He does not judge from appearances, but He searches the heart, and judges righteously. ST July 16, 1902, par. 12

True courtesy, blended with truth and justice, makes the life not only useful, but beautiful and fragrant. Kind words, pleasant looks, a cheerful countenance, throw a charm about the Christian that makes his influence almost irresistible. In forgetfulness of self, in the light and peace and happiness that he is constantly bestowing on others, he finds true joy. ST July 16, 1902, par. 13

Let us be self-forgetful, ever on the watch to cheer others, to lighten their burdens by acts of tender kindness and deeds of unselfish love. Leave unspoken that unkind word; let that selfish disregard of the happiness of others give place to loving sympathy. These thoughtful courtesies, beginning in the home, and extending far beyond the home circle, go far to make up the sum of life's happiness, and the neglect of them constitutes no small share of life's misery. ST July 16, 1902, par. 14

Mrs. E. G. White