The Review and Herald


February 16, 1897

Our Words


“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.” “He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Speech is the means by which thought is expressed. Rightly used, this gift is a wonderful blessing, whose power for good cannot be estimated; misused, it is a curse to humanity and a dishonor to God. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue;” “and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” RH February 16, 1897, par. 1

Every uttered word exerts an influence, every action involves a train of responsibility. No one can live to himself in this world, even if he would. Each one forms a part of the great web of humanity, and through our individual threads of influence, we are linked to the universe. Christ used his influence to draw men to God, and he has left us an example of the way in which we should speak and act. A person who is molded by the Spirit of God will know how to speak a “word in season to him that is weary,” and will realize the highest human blessedness,—the joy of imparting to others the precious treasures of the wisdom and grace of Christ. But those who permit themselves to be controlled by the enemy of all good will speak words which should never be uttered. RH February 16, 1897, par. 2

The great want of the world is hearts in which Christ abides as an honored guest. But the meekness and lowliness of Jesus have been too hard a lesson for many to learn. The sanctifying power of the truth has not been allowed to influence them for good, bringing the emotions of the heart and the words of the lips into conformity to the will of God; and too often, while Jesus stands knocking at the door of the heart, men are so busily engaged in talking of the faults of others that they fail to grant him an entrance. RH February 16, 1897, par. 3

Some who profess to love Christ, cherish cruel thoughts against others; and these thoughts, with their baleful influence, flow to the world in their words. All such are more closely allied to the great deceiver than to him who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Satan rules the tongues of all who give themselves into his keeping, filling the heart with envy and jealousy, and prompting the false whisper which so often causes untold misery. Those who lend themselves to his service do a work which makes him rejoice; but the angels of God weep as they see the evil that is wrought. Could those who thus give themselves up to mischief-making see how well pleasing their course of action is to the adversary of souls, they would say with the psalmist: “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.” RH February 16, 1897, par. 4

There is need to close the door which now stands open in the free, unjust use of the tongue, by which the enemy so often enters. He is constantly at work, adapting himself to the various dispositions and circumstances of those whom he is seeking to entangle. That soul is in the greatest danger which, though blind to its own faults, is all too quick to make known the failings of others. If the tongue were kept as with a bridle, if the eloquence of silence were more often preserved, how many heartaches would be saved! how many souls kept from entering the dark shadow of despair and discouragement! RH February 16, 1897, par. 5

It is not God's purpose that his children should isolate themselves, drawing apart from one another. In their intercourse he would have them reveal him by a patient, long-suffering, forbearing spirit, by words which cheer and encourage those that faint by the way. If we are willing to learn, Christ will teach us to manifest in our daily lives his goodness, mercy, and love. Every soul who will become consecrated to him will be a channel through which his love can flow,—an agent co-operating with divine intelligences,—and will find his happiness increased as he imparts happiness to others. RH February 16, 1897, par. 6

He who is your neighbor is to be earnestly sought for and labored for. Is he ignorant? let your communication make him more intelligent. Is he downcast and discouraged? let your words speak hope to his soul. Those who are defective in character are the very ones God enjoins us to help. “I am not come to call the righteous,” said Christ, “but sinners to repentance.” By the influence of words spoken from a heart full of love, the discouraged ones may become trophies of grace,—heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. RH February 16, 1897, par. 7

“Take heed to thyself,” was the charge given to Timothy. Today this lesson is fearfully neglected by those who pride themselves upon entering the kingdom of God. Satan works untiringly to thwart the purpose of God, and he tempts the children of God to be severe upon the errors of others, while they themselves are careless in regard to their own course of action, and mingle defects with their work. There will always be something which we can criticize; but when we view things as God views them, we shall not look at the work of others with a critical eye, eager to find some flaw, but will seek to find something of which we can approve. Let him who makes criticism and faultfinding his first duty, who spends his God-given time in speaking words which sow the seeds of doubt and unbelief, take heed lest defects far more serious be found in his own character. RH February 16, 1897, par. 8

Be sharp and critical with yourself, for the eternal interests of your soul demand this; but do not place a stumbling-block in the way of sinners by talking of the defects of those around you. Those who love God supremely, and their neighbors as themselves, will see so many imperfections in their own work, so much that needs to be cleansed from defilement, that they will feel no inclination to dwell upon the defects of others. RH February 16, 1897, par. 9

Nothing is hidden from God. Says the true Witness, “I know thy works.” Every word that we speak is heard and recorded by the Majesty of heaven, who has declared, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Could our eyes be opened, could we see the heavenly Watcher by our side, listening to the words we utter, we would strive to control our tongues; for we would realize that we were speaking in the hearing of the heavenly universe. If they are left unrepented of, we shall meet once more the bitter spirit, the revengeful feelings, and the angry words; “for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” O that men, instead of making the mistakes of others the subject of their conversation, would turn their critical glances inward, seeking power from on high to guard well their words, that in the Judgment they might stand justified in the sight of God! RH February 16, 1897, par. 10

Christ, the Lamb of God, can take away the desire to speak words which hurt and bruise the souls of others. His power is limitless, and if we shut ourselves in with him, we shall grow more like him. Strength will be given us to subdue the inclination to speak and judge harshly; we shall be enabled to make straight paths for our feet, lest the “lame be turned out of the way.” If we will yield heart and mind into the keeping of Christ, if we will control our thoughts, bringing them into obedience to his will, our words will be such as the angels love to hear, and will bless all those with whom we come in contact. RH February 16, 1897, par. 11

All who have the mind of Christ will turn away from everything tending to deformity of character. If Christ is taken as our pattern in all things, if he is formed within, “the hope of glory,” our minds will be filled with thoughts that are pure and lovely. We shall feel no inclination to think or to talk of the failings of others, or to triumph over the knowledge of a brother's error. Mercy and love will be cherished; that charity which “suffereth long and is kind,” which “beareth all things” and “thinketh no evil,” will appear in word and action. RH February 16, 1897, par. 12

The most persuasive eloquence is the word that is spoken in love and sympathy. Such words will bring light to confused minds and hope to the discouraged, brightening the prospect before them. The time in which we live calls for vital, sanctified energy; for earnestness, zeal, and the tenderest sympathy and love; for words that will not increase misery, but will inspire faith and hope. We are homeward bound, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. Instead of speaking words which will rankle in the breasts of those that hear, shall we not speak of the love wherewith God hath loved us? Shall we not try to lighten the hearts of those around us by words of Christlike sympathy? Shall we not tell of the prospective rest in store for the people of God? “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” RH February 16, 1897, par. 13

Day by day we are sowing seed for the future harvest, and we cannot be too careful of the seed which we sow by our words. Often words are carelessly spoken and forgotten, but these words, for good or for ill, are bringing forth a harvest. Sow one unkind, harsh word, and this seed, finding soil in the minds of your hearers, will spring up and bear fruit after its own kind. Sow one seed in loving, gentle, Christlike words, and it will bring you rich returns. Our minds must be carefully guarded, lest words be spoken which are not a blessing, but a curse. If by our words we sow wheat, we shall reap wheat; if we sow tares, we shall reap tares; and the harvest, whether of wheat or of tares, will be sure and abundant. RH February 16, 1897, par. 14