The Review and Herald


June 13, 1912

Overcoming Prejudice


Those who labor in word and doctrine have an important work before them in removing from the minds of those for whom they labor fatal and lifelong deceptions, and impressing upon them the importance of aiming to reach God's great standard of righteousness. These workers should pray earnestly for divine enlightenment, and for wisdom to present the truth as it is in Jesus. Sympathy, tenderness, and love, woven into their discourses and manifested in their lives, will disarm opposition, weaken prejudice, and open the way to many hearts. RH June 13, 1912, par. 1

Christ came to break the yoke from the necks of the oppressed, to strengthen the weak, to comfort the mourning, to set at liberty those who are bound, and to bind up the broken-hearted. His servants are to take up the work where he left it, and carry it forward in his name. But it is Satan's constant aim so to shape circumstances that the workers will become disconnected from God and labor in their own strength. RH June 13, 1912, par. 2

Our workers need more of the wisdom that Paul had. When he went to labor for the Jews, he did not first make prominent the birth, betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, notwithstanding these were the special truths for that time. He first brought them down step by step over the promises of a coming Saviour, that had been given, and over the prophecies that pointed him out. After dwelling upon these until the specifications were distinct in the minds of all, he then declared that this Saviour had already come, and had fulfilled every specification of prophecy. This was the “guile” with which Paul caught souls. He presented the truth in such a manner that their former prejudices did not arise to blind their eyes and pervert their judgment. RH June 13, 1912, par. 3

Brethren, as you go forth to labor for those who are bound in chains of prejudice and ignorance, you will need to exercise the same divine wisdom that Paul manifested. When, as you labor in a place, you see that the scales are beginning to fall from men's eyes, that they see people as trees walking, be very careful not to present the truth in such a way as to arouse prejudice and close the door of the heart to further light. Agree with the people on every point where you can consistently do so. Let them see that you love their souls, and want to be in harmony with them as far as possible. If the love of Christ is revealed in all your efforts, you will be able to sow the seeds of truth in some hearts. God will water the seed sown, and the truth will spring up and bear fruit to his glory. RH June 13, 1912, par. 4

O that I could impress upon all the necessity of laboring in the spirit of Jesus! for I have been shown that souls have been turned away from the truth because of a lack of tact and skill in presenting it. In kindness and love seek to instruct those who oppose you. Preach the truth with the meekness of simplicity, remembering that it is not your words, but the Word of God that is to cut its way to the heart. RH June 13, 1912, par. 5

It should ever be manifest that we are reformers, but not bigots. When our laborers enter a new field, they should seek to become acquainted with the pastors of the several churches in the place. Much has been lost by neglecting to do this. If our ministers show themselves friendly and sociable, and do not act as if they were ashamed of the message they bear, it will have an excellent effect, and may give these pastors and their congregations favorable impressions of the truth. At any rate, it is right to give them a chance to be kind and favorable if they will. RH June 13, 1912, par. 6

Our laborers should be very careful not to give the impression that they are wolves stealing in to get the sheep, but should let the ministers understand their position and the object of their mission,—to call the attention of the people to the truths of God's Word. There are many of these which are dear to all Christians. Here is common ground, upon which we can meet people of other denominations; and in becoming acquainted with them, we should dwell mostly upon topics in which all feel an interest, and which will not lead directly and pointedly to the subjects of disagreement. RH June 13, 1912, par. 7

On entering a new place to labor, we should be careful not to create prejudice in the minds of the Catholics, or do anything to lead them to think us their enemies. The Lord has shown me that there are many among them who will be saved. God will just as surely test this people as he is testing us; and according to their willingness to accept the light he gives them, will be their standing before him. We should sow the seed beside all waters, for it is God that gives the increase. RH June 13, 1912, par. 8

The apostle Paul, in describing his manner of labor, says: “Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” RH June 13, 1912, par. 9

Many people had assembled where John was baptizing in Jordan. As Jesus walked among them, the observing eye of John recognized him as the Saviour, and with kindling eye and earnest manner he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Two of John's disciples, whose attention was thus directed to Jesus, followed him. Seeing them following him, he turned and said, “What seek ye? They said unto him, ... Master, where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see.” And when they had come and seen where he dwelt, he opened to them the great plan of salvation. RH June 13, 1912, par. 10

The words that he there spoke to them were too precious to be kept to themselves, and the disciples immediately went and found their friends and brought them to Jesus. At that very time Nathanael was praying to know whether this was indeed the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets had spoken. While he continued to pray, one of those who had been brought to Christ, Philip by name, came to him and said, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” RH June 13, 1912, par. 11

Notice how quickly prejudice arises. Nathanael says, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip knew the strong prejudice that existed in the minds of many against Nazareth, and he did not try to argue with him, for fear of raising his combativeness, but simply said, “Come and see.” RH June 13, 1912, par. 12

Here is a lesson for our ministers and colporteurs and missionary workers. When you meet those who, like Nathanael, are prejudiced against the truth, do not urge your peculiar views too strongly. Talk to them at first upon subjects upon which you can agree. Bow with them in prayer, and in humble faith present your petitions before the throne. As you come into a closer connection with heaven, prejudice will be weakened, and it will be easier to reach the heart. RH June 13, 1912, par. 13

To those who expect to go to other lands to labor, I wish to say: Remember that you can break down the severest opposition by taking a personal interest in the people whom you meet. Christ took a personal interest in men and women while he lived on this earth. Wherever he went, he was a medical missionary. We are to go about doing good, even as he did. We are instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sorrowing. RH June 13, 1912, par. 14

The sisters can do much to reach the heart and make it tender. Wherever you are, my sisters, work in simplicity. If you are in a home where there are children, show an interest in them. Let them see that you love them. If one is sick, offer to give treatments; help the careworn, anxious mother to relieve her suffering child. RH June 13, 1912, par. 15

Some of you expect to go abroad as canvassers. Sometimes you may wish to canvass a man whose time is fully occupied. You may have to put off your canvass, and it may be possible that you can join him in his work, and talk with him then. The sermon which you thus preach by your helpfulness will be in harmony with the sermon which you preach with your tongue; and the two, together, will have a power that words alone could never have. RH June 13, 1912, par. 16

When staying at the homes of the people, share the burdens of the household. Be thoughtful enough to keep the water bucket filled. Help the tired father do the chores. Take an interest in the children. Be considerate. Work in humility, and the Lord will work with you. RH June 13, 1912, par. 17

Christ drew the hearts of his hearers to him by the manifestation of his love, and then, little by little, as they were able to bear it, he unfolded to them the great truths of the kingdom. We also must learn to adapt our labors to the condition of the people,—to meet men where they are. While the claims of the law of God are to be presented to the world, we should never forget that love—the love of Christ—is the only power that can soften the heart and lead to obedience. All the great truths of the Scriptures center in Christ; rightly understood, all lead to him. Let Christ be presented as the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, of the great plan of redemption. Present to the people such subjects as will strengthen their confidence in God and in his Word, and lead them to investigate its teachings for themselves. And as they go forward, step by step, in the study of the Bible, they will be better prepared to appreciate the beauty and harmony of its precious truths. RH June 13, 1912, par. 18

God's workmen must have breadth of character. They must not be men of one idea, stereotyped in their manner of working. They must be able to vary their efforts, to meet the needs of the people under different circumstances and conditions. God would have his servants, young and old, continually improving, learning better how to minister to the wants of all. RH June 13, 1912, par. 19