Ms 69, 1902

Ms 69, 1902

The Grace of Courtesy

NP

May 26, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 3SM 237-240.

Those who work for Christ are to be pure, upright, and trustworthy, and they are also to be tenderhearted, compassionate, and courteous. There is a charm in the intercourse of those who are truly courteous. Kind words, pleasant looks, a courteous demeanor, are of inestimable value. Uncourteous Christians, by their neglect of others, show that they are not in union with Christ. It is impossible to be in union with Christ, and yet be uncourteous. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 1

What Christ was in His life on this earth, that every Christian should be. He is our example, not only in His spotless purity, but in His patience, gentleness, and winsomeness of disposition. He was as firm as a rock where truth and duty were concerned, but He was invariably kind and courteous. His life was a perfect illustration of true courtesy. He had ever a kind look and a word of comfort for the needy and oppressed. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 2

His presence brought a purer atmosphere into the home, and His life was as leaven working amid the elements of society. Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust publicans, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitude. He spoke a word of sympathy here, and a word there, as He saw men weary and compelled to bear heavy burdens. He shared their burdens and repeated to them the lessons He had learned from nature of the love, the kindness, the goodness of God. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 3

He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as children of God. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 4

Though He was a Jew, Christ mingled with the Samaritans, setting at naught the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices, He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept under their roofs, ate with them at their tables, partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands—taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 5

Jesus sat as an honored guest at the table of the publicans, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. Upon their thirsty souls His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and the possibility of a new life opened to these outcasts of society. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 6

The love of Christ mellows the heart and smooths all roughness from the disposition. Let us learn from Him how to combine a high sense of purity and integrity with sunniness of temperament. A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument in favor of the gospel that can be produced. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 7

The conduct of some professing Christians is so lacking in kindness and courtesy that their good is evil spoken of. Their sincerity may not be doubted, their uprightness may not be questioned. But sincerity and uprightness will not atone for a lack of kindness and courtesy. Such ones need to realize that the plan of redemption is a plan of mercy set in operation to soften whatever is hard and rugged in human nature. They need to cultivate that rare Christian courtesy which makes men kind and considerate to all. The Christian is to be sympathetic as well as true, pitiful and courteous as well as upright and honest. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 8

Men of the world study to be courteous, to make themselves as pleasing as possible. They study to render their address and manners such that they will have the greatest influence over those with whom they associate. They use their knowledge and abilities as skilfully as possible in order to gain this object. “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” [Luke 16:8.] 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 9

As you go through life, you will meet with those whose lot is far from easy. Toil and deprivation with no hope for better things in the future make their burden very heavy. And when pain and sickness is added, the burden is almost greater than they can bear. Careworn and oppressed, they know not where to turn for relief. When you meet with such ones, put your whole heart into the work of helping them. It is not God’s purpose that His children shall shut themselves up to themselves. Remember that for them as well as for you Christ died. In your dealing with them, be pitiful and courteous. This will open the way for you to help them, to win their confidence, to inspire them with hope and courage. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 10

The apostle exhorts us, “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:15, 16.] The grace of Christ changes the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous. It controls the temper and the voice. Its outworking is seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words and unselfish actions. An angel-presence is in the home. The life breathes forth a sweet perfume, which as holy incense ascends to God. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering. The expression of the countenance is changed. The peace of heaven is revealed. There is seen a habitual gentleness, a more than human love. Humanity becomes a partaker of divinity. Christ is honored by perfection of character. As these changes are perfected, angels break forth in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 11

We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones; to use pure, correct language, and words that are kind and courteous. Kind words are as dew and gentle showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ that grace was poured into His lips, that He might “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” [Isaiah 50:4.] And the Lord bids us, “Let your speech be alway with grace” “that it may minster grace unto the hearers.” [Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29.] 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 12

Some with whom you are brought in contact will be rough and uncourteous, but because of this, do not be less courteous yourself. He who wishes to preserve his own self-respect must be careful not to wound needlessly the self-respect of others. This rule should be sacredly observed toward the dullest, the most blundering. What God intends to do with these apparently unpromising ones, you do not know. He has in the past accepted persons no more promising or attractive to do a great work for Him. His Spirit, moving upon the heart, has aroused every faculty to vigorous action. The Lord saw in those rough, unhewn stones, precious material, that would stand the test of storm and heat and pressure. God sees not as man sees. He does not judge from appearances, but He searches the heart and judges righteously. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 13

Let us be self-forgetful, ever on the watch to cheer others, to lighten their burdens by acts of tender kindness and deeds of unselfish love. These thoughtful courtesies, beginning in the home, and extending far beyond the home circle, go far to make up the sum of life’s happiness; and the neglect of them constitutes no small share of life’s wretchedness. 17LtMs, Ms 69, 1902, par. 14