The Review and Herald

764/1902

March 12, 1895

True Wisdom Is Full of Mercy

EGW

“Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” What is lying against the truth?—It is claiming to believe the truth while the spirit, the words, the deportment, represent not Christ but Satan. To surmise evil, to be impatient and unforgiving, is lying against the truth; but love, patience, and long forbearance are in accordance with the principles of truth. Truth is ever pure, ever kind, breathing a heavenly fragrance unmingled with selfishness. RH March 12, 1895, par. 1

If there is any one in the church who desires to be a teacher, who thinks himself called upon to instruct others, let him show a fitness for the position, not by his profession merely, not by his discourses alone, but by his spirit and life. Let him not indulge in evil surmisings, let him give no credence to hearsay, or be found reporting a tale of reproach to others while neglecting to learn whether the accusation is true or false. Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. RH March 12, 1895, par. 2

Those who delight to criticise their brethren, make manifest the fact that they pride themselves in their superior wisdom, because they discern stains upon the characters of their brethren that others have failed to see; but “this wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” The apostle has given us a description of the fruits’ of pure and undefiled religion, and has also delineated the character of the fruits of that wisdom which descendeth not from above. My dear brethren and sisters, will you consider these truths, noting how opposite in character and tendency they are, and determine which kind you are cultivating? May the Lord open the eyes of our people to see clearly on which side they stand. Good fruits are without partiality and without hypocrisy. RH March 12, 1895, par. 3

When the grace of Christ is in the heart, tender compassion will be manifested for one another, and words and deeds of kindness will be done, not merely for the few who extol and favor you, but for those for whom Christ died. The harvest of peace is sown in peace of them that make peace. Christ knows the spirit we cherish; for the faithful Witness says, “I know thy works.” The thoughts of the heart are not hidden from him, and by our words and deeds we shall be judged in the last great day. God will not vindicate us if we manifest a harsh, denunciatory spirit, either toward our own brethren or toward those who are not of our faith. Those who do this may appear to have a zeal for the truth, but it is not according to knowledge. To be unkind, to denounce others, to give expression to harsh, severe judgments, to entertain evil thoughts, is not the result of that wisdom which is from above, but is the sure evidence of an unsanctified ambition, after the order of that which caused the condemnation of Jesus. RH March 12, 1895, par. 4

The language of the Christian must be mild and circumspect; for his holy faith requires him to represent Christ to the world. All those who abide in Christ will manifest the kind, forgiving courtesy that characterized his life. Their works will be works of piety, equity, and purity. They will have the meekness of wisdom, and will exercise the gift of the grace of Jesus. They will be willing and ready to forgive, earnestly seeking to be at peace with their brethren. They will represent that spirit which they desire to be exercised toward them by their Heavenly Father. The enemy has been at work seeking to control the thoughts and affections of many who claim to be led by the Spirit of truth. Many cherish unkind thoughts, envyings, evil surmisings, and pride, and manifest a fierce spirit that leads them to do works like those of the evil one. They have a love of authority, a desire for pre-eminence, a longing for a high reputation, a disposition to censure and revile others, and they wrap about themselves the garment of hypocrisy, calling their unsanctified ambition zeal for the truth. RH March 12, 1895, par. 5

He who opens his heart to the suggestions of the enemy, taking in evil surmisings, and cherishing jealousy, frequently misconstrues this evil-mindedness, calling it special foresight, discrimination, or discernment in detecting guilt and fathoming the evil motives of others. He considers that a precious gift has been vouchsafed to him, and he draws apart from the very brethren with whom he should be in harmony; he climbs upon the judgment seat, and shuts his heart against the one he supposes to be in error, as though he himself were above temptation. Jesus separates from him, and leaves him to walk in the sparks of his own kindling. Let no one among you glory any longer against the truth by declaring that this spirit is a necessary consequence of dealing faithfully with wrongdoers and of standing in defense of the truth. Such wisdom has many admirers, but it is very deceptive and harmful. It does not come from above, but is the fruit of an unregenerated heart. Its originator is Satan himself. Let no accuser of others credit himself with discernment; for in so doing he clothes the attributes of Satan with the garments of righteousness. I call upon you, my brethren, to purify the soul-temple of all these things that defile; for they are roots of bitterness. RH March 12, 1895, par. 6

How true are the words of the apostle, “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” One person in an institution or in a church who gives loose rein to unkind thoughts by speaking evil of the brethren, may stir up the worst passions of the human heart, and spread abroad a leaven of evil that will work in all who come into association with him. In this way the enemy of all righteousness gains the victory, and the result of his work is to make of no effect the Saviour's prayer when he pleaded that his disciples might be one as he is one with the Father. RH March 12, 1895, par. 7

While men and women who profess the name of Christ are blinded by erroneous ideas as to what constitutes Christian character, they are still exposed to the evil that exists in their own hearts, and cherish such unkindness, such prejudice and resentment, that Christ is excluded, and Satan takes the throne of the heart. Then the Devil and his angels exult. The wisdom which is from above leads to no such evil results. It is the wisdom of Christ,—“first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.” Those who manifest these fruits have placed themselves on God's side; their will is the will of Christ. They believe the word of God, and obey its plain injunctions. They do not consult their feelings, neither do they extol their own opinions above those of others. They esteem others better than themselves. They do not stubbornly strive to carry out their own purposes, irrespective of the influence their plans will have on other souls that are precious in the sight of God. In order to have peace and unity in our institutions and in the church, our selfish ideas and preferences must be sacrificed. No principle of divine truth is to be sacrificed by any means, but our own hereditary and cultivated tendencies must often yield. No man is perfect, no one without defects. RH March 12, 1895, par. 8

My brethren and sisters to whom these lines are addressed, I would ask you, Are you cherishing a spirit that is easy to be entreated? Is it your custom to look upon the course of others in a fair, reasonable light, excusing them for any error they may commit as you yourself wish to be excused? Or do you strive to exalt self, and to make it appear that your brethren and sisters are in the wrong? Are you willing to forgive those who you think have not done right? Ask yourself whether you would have done as well as they have done, were you in their place. Are you ready to answer the prayer of Christ by yielding your will in submission to his, in order that peace and harmony may be maintained in the church? RH March 12, 1895, par. 9

I know that this has not been the spirit which has been cherished by all. Many have been altogether too willing to disparage others and justify themselves. They have upheld their course when it was decidedly contrary to the word of God, and their words of self-justification are registered against them in heavenly records, there to stand until they repent and confess their evil doings. RH March 12, 1895, par. 10

True wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits. There are bigots enough in the world who imagine that everything which concerns them is perfect, while they pick flaws in the motives and principles of others. Will you look at these things as they are? As long as you disparage others, you are not what God would have you to be, nor what you must be if you are ever saved in the kingdom of heaven. The converting power of God must come into your hearts and transform your characters before you can adorn the gospel of Christ with a well-ordered life and a godly conversation. Then there will be no evil-speaking, no evil surmising, no accusing of your brethren, no secret working to exalt self and disparage others. Christ will reign in your hearts by faith. Your eyes and your tongue will be sanctified, and your ears will refuse to listen to evil reports or suggestions from believers or unbelievers. Your senses, your appetites and passions, will all be under the control of the Spirit of God; they will not be given up to the control of Satan, that he may employ your members as instruments of unrighteousness. RH March 12, 1895, par. 11

Let the members of every family begin to work over against their own houses. Let them humble themselves before God. It would be well to have a trespass-offering box in sight, and have all the household agreed that whosoever speaks unkindly of another or utters angry words, shall drop into the trespass-offering box a certain sum of money. This would put them upon their guard against the wicked words which work injury, not only to their brethren, but to themselves. No man of himself can tame the unruly member, the tongue; but God will do the work for him who comes unto him with contrite heart in faith and with humble supplication. By the help of God, bridle your tongues; talk less, and pray more. RH March 12, 1895, par. 12

Never question the motives of your brethren; for as you judge them, God has declared you will be judged. Open your hearts to kindliness to the cheering rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Encourage kindly thoughts and holy affections. Cultivate the habit of speaking well of your brethren. Let not pride or selfish righteousness prevent you from making a frank and full confession of your wrong-doings. If you do not love those for whom Christ has died, you have no genuine love for Christ, and your worship will be as a tainted offering before God. If you cherish unworthy thoughts, misjudging your brethren and surmising evil of them, God will not hear your self-sufficient, self-exalted prayers. When you go to those who you think are doing wrong, you must have the spirit of meekness, of kindness, and be full of mercy and good fruits. Do not show partiality to one or more, and neglect other of your brethren because they are not congenial to you. Beware lest you deal harshly with those who you think have made mistakes, while others, more guilty and more deserving of reproof, who should be severely rebuked for their unChristlike conduct, are sustained and treated as friends. RH March 12, 1895, par. 13