The Review and Herald


June 9, 1903

The Sin of Evil-Speaking


It is not God's plan that reports regarding the work of his servants shall be passed from one to another. My brethren, when some one comes to you with an accusation against a fellow worker, say to him, Have you gone to the one you are accusing, in the way in which Christ told you to go? If you have not done this, I am not at liberty to listen to what you have to say about him. RH June 9, 1903, par. 1

Hear what Christ has said regarding this matter: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” And he said again, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” RH June 9, 1903, par. 2

O, how much time is worse than wasted by evil-speaking! Because of this sin, not half is accomplished that might be accomplished. Men and women become mischief-makers for Satan, and going to this one and that one, place in their minds the leaven of evil, prejudicing them against a brother or a sister, who, they say, has done wrong. The thoughts of those thus influenced are misdirected, their peace is disturbed, and their confidence in their brethren is weakened. Those who do this evil work are departing from Christ, to follow one who is teaching them to love and make a lie. Whatever their position in the service of God, they are dishonoring him. All their qualifications and capabilities, however commendable they may apparently be, will not supply the deficiency resulting from the lack of Christlike love. RH June 9, 1903, par. 3

Those who think and speak evil of their fellow laborers, opening the mind to false reports, and taking up a reproach against their neighbor, grieve the Spirit of God, and put Christ to open shame. I feel so saddened, so discouraged, by the thought that God's servants are willing to listen to and circulate hearsay. I know that the Holy Spirit will not co-operate with those who, by their criticisms, their evil surmisings, and their hard-heartedness, are helping Satan. God says to them, “Thou hast left thy first love.... Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly.” I will not bear long with your perverse spirit, which leads you to cherish envy and evil surmising. “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Do not these words, so plain and decided, call for serious thought and earnest study on the part of every one who claims to believe the Word of God? “Thou hast left thy first love.” And the dryness and coldness of heart are revealed by a lack of that Christian courtesy, that kindness and tenderness, which is seen in the life of the true Christian. RH June 9, 1903, par. 4

On one occasion, on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Christ passed a fig orchard. He was hungry, “and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon.” The tree presented an appearance of fruitfulness, but upon searching its branches, from the lowest bough to the topmost twig, Jesus found “nothing but leaves.” It was a mass of pretentious foliage, nothing more. Today Christ comes to his people, hungering to find in them the fruits of righteousness. But many, many, have nothing but leaves to offer him. They have left their first love, and upon them has fallen spiritual blindness, hardness of heart, stubbornness of mind. They pray to God, and present Bible truth to the people; for they are in the habit of doing so; but they have lost that which would make their service acceptable. How blind they are! how defective their service! Boastingly they say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” But God says to them, “Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked! I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” RH June 9, 1903, par. 5

Will God's people accept this reproof? Let them beware of remaining in their present condition; for time is fast passing, and the work that ought to be done is not done. How unlike Christ we are in word and spirit, and in our attitude toward one another! His gentleness should make us “kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” As a people who have had great light we stand before God under condemnation unless we fulfill the Saviour's purpose for us, holding fast to him, and allowing him to send through our religious experience a warm current of unselfish love. When we do this, our spiritual strength will show that we are living in close connection with the Life-giver. We shall impart grace for the grace that we receive. RH June 9, 1903, par. 6

A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ come faith, and an unselfish interest in those around him. The selfish desire to be first is quenched. There is no hatred in his thoughts, because there is no hatred in his heart. He has the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. The refining influence of the Saviour's life refreshes and invigorates his spiritual life. By his loyalty to his brethren he shows that he realizes the value of souls. He can pray with the spirit and with the understanding also. His zeal, his stanch adherence to principle, his devotion to all that is pure, honest, just, and of good report, make him companionable, and helpful to those with whom he associates. RH June 9, 1903, par. 7

Such men are of value with God. If they continue to put their trust in him, they will grow more and more like him. One day they will see God, who declares, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” RH June 9, 1903, par. 8