The Review and Herald


November 25, 1902

How to Deal With the Erring


In dealing with those who are in error, we are to treat them as Christ would, seeking, by a loving, unselfish interest in them, to win them to repentance. O, we need so much men who are wise in dealing with tempted souls! There are many prodigals, needing the welcome of the loving Father, not the cold repulse of the elder brother. Let us be afraid to be harsh and condemnatory. Before we speak, let us ask ourselves whether what we are about to say would be pleasing to Christ. There are angels hovering round these poor erring ones, seeking to lead them into safe paths. Let human beings keep their hands off, and give the tempted ones opportunity to recover themselves from the snare of the enemy. RH November 25, 1902, par. 1

Among those who accuse, there are many who, by their manner of dealing, have set an example that has led others away from right doing. Their course is more offensive to God than is the course of those whom they condemn, because, while professing to be upright in their dealings, they have done a strange work, dishonoring to God. RH November 25, 1902, par. 2

On one occasion the scribes and Pharisees brought to Christ a woman whom they accused of having violated the seventh commandment. “Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned,” they said; “but what sayest thou?” Jesus read their thoughts. He knew for what purpose this case had been brought to him. He knew that these would-be guardians of justice had themselves led their victim into sin, that they might lay a snare for Jesus. Giving no sign that he had heard their question, he stooped, and fixing his eyes upon the ground, began to write in the dust. Impatient at his delay, the accusers drew nearer, urging the matter upon his attention. But as their eyes, following his, fell upon the ground at his feet, their countenances changed. There, traced before them, were the guilty secrets of their own lives. RH November 25, 1902, par. 3

The law specified that in punishment by stoning, the witnesses in the case should be the first to cast a stone. Rising, and fixing his eyes upon the plotting elders, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and stooping down, he continued writing on the ground. RH November 25, 1902, par. 4

The accusers had been defeated. With their robe of pretended holiness torn from them, they stood, guilty and condemned, in the presence of infinite purity. They trembled lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude; and one by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes, they went away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour. RH November 25, 1902, par. 5

Jesus arose, and looking at the woman, said, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” RH November 25, 1902, par. 6

Were Christ on earth today, would he not hear many words of condemnation and harsh judgment? Would he not see men professing to be his followers crowding those who have erred into hard places, giving them no opportunity to recover themselves? Were he to say to them, as he said to the accusing Pharisees, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” would they not, even as did the Pharisees, go away, filled with shame? RH November 25, 1902, par. 7

If one errs, and is brought to repentance, let all receive his confession with a sense of what it cost him, and welcome him back with heartfelt joy and gratitude that he has been enabled to obtain the victory. Let every tempted soul who has been weaving strange threads into the web of life, who has been doing that of which he would be ashamed could he see the result, remember that Christ is ready to pardon every one who comes to him. But the sin must be repented of, and restitution must be made. RH November 25, 1902, par. 8

“Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” RH November 25, 1902, par. 9

Conduct Toward the Young and Inexperienced

There are those who, though young men and young women in years, are but children in the knowledge of God. Weak in faith, inexperienced, they need the help of those whose opportunities for gaining knowledge have been greater than theirs. There are such youth as these connected with our institutions. Let those who have charge over them remember that they are to be patiently and kindly instructed. Show Christian forbearance in dealing with them. Let your hearts be filled with desire to place their feet in right paths. Do not speak to them as if they were slaves. Remember that they are inexperienced and ignorant, just as verily in need of wise guidance as is the little child just learning to walk. Remember that you yourselves are not faultless, that many times you are in need of help. RH November 25, 1902, par. 10

Those in authority have many lessons to learn. Many of them have brought into their manhood and womanhood the faults of their childhood. Let them be guarded in their speech. Let them curb their hasty temper. Let them overcome the inclination to scold and criticise. Let them learn the value of self-control and sweetness of temper. Before they can expect to control others aright, they must learn to control themselves. Let them beware of prejudicing and hardening the youth with whom they are dealing, making it impossible for them to be won to Christ. Let the one who, grown to manhood, has brought into his life a loveless dignity, learn how to be kind and courteous. Only thus can he hope to win souls to Christ. RH November 25, 1902, par. 11

The Word of God is our guide. By studying it carefully, we shall learn how to deal with the souls for whom Christ has died. By helping those who are in need of help, by speaking to them cheering, encouraging words, by revealing a Christlike spirit, we are to perfect our education. RH November 25, 1902, par. 12

Let those who have any part to act in the training of the youth remember their own faults and mistakes, and strive earnestly to be what they wish the youth to become. In their treatment of them let them be wise, pitiful, and noble. Let them not forget that the youth in their care are in this life to be prepared for admittance into the royal family. They are in need of wholesome, encouraging words and unselfish deeds. Treat them as Christ's children, whom he wants you to help in every time of need. They are very precious to him. He gave his life for them. Make friends of them. Bring Christlikeness into your dealing with them. Give them practical evidence of your unselfish interest. Help them over the hard places. Patiently, tenderly, strive to win them to Jesus. Let your words be loving and sympathetic, and the tones of your voice pleasant. Let the grace of Christ soften and subdue all that is harsh in your nature. Eternity alone will reveal the results of your earnest, unselfish efforts. RH November 25, 1902, par. 13