SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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Chapter 3

2. One of the Highest Gifts—The talent of speech ranks with the highest gifts (Manuscript 92, 1899). 7BC 936.7

(Ch. 1:26.) Power to Bridle the Tongue—Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue. Sorely as He was tried on the point of hasty and angry speech, He never once sinned with His lips. With patient calmness He met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of His fellow workers at the carpenter's bench. Instead of retorting angrily, He would begin to sing one of David's beautiful psalms; and His companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with Him in the hymn. What a transformation would be wrought in this world if men and women today would follow Christ's example in the use of words (The Review and Herald, May 26, 1904). 7BC 936.8

8. See EGW on Psalm 5:5-12. 7BC 936.9

13, 14. Heavenly Fragrance of Truth—[James 3:13, 14 quoted.] What is lying against the truth? It is claiming to believe the truth while the spirit, the words, the deportment, represent not Christ but Satan. To surmise evil, to be impatient and unforgiving, is lying against the truth; but love, patience, and long forbearance are in accordance with the principles of truth. Truth is ever pure, ever kind, breathing a heavenly fragrance unmingled with selfishness (The Review and Herald, March 12, 1895). 7BC 936.10

15, 16 (Hebrews 12:15). Climbing on the Judgment Seat—[James 3:15-18 quoted.] ... He who opens his heart to the suggestions of the enemy, taking in evil surmisings, and cherishing jealousy, frequently misconstrues this evil-mindedness, calling it special foresight, discrimination, or discernment in detecting guilt and fathoming the evil motives of others. He considers that a precious gift has been vouchsafed to him; and he draws apart from the very brethren with whom he should be in harmony; he climbs upon the judgment seat, and shuts his heart against the one he supposes to be in error, as though he himself were above temptation. Jesus separates from him, and leaves him to walk in the sparks of his own kindling. 7BC 936.11

Let no one among you glory any longer against the truth by declaring that this spirit is a necessary consequence of dealing faithfully with wrongdoers and of standing in defense of the truth. Such wisdom has many admirers, but it is very deceptive and harmful. It does not come from above, but is the fruit of an unregenerated heart. Its originator is Satan himself. Let no accuser of others credit himself with discernment; for in so doing he clothes the attributes of Satan with the garments of righteousness. I call upon you, my brethren, to purify the soul temple of all these things that defile; for they are roots of bitterness. 7BC 936.12

How true are the words of the apostle, “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” One person in an institution or in a church who gives loose rein to unkind thoughts by speaking evil of the brethren, may stir up the worst passions of the human heart, and spread abroad a leaven of evil that will work in all who come into association with him. In this way the enemy of all righteousness gains the victory, and the result of his work is to make of no effect the Saviour's prayer when He pleaded that His disciples might be one as He is one with the Father (The Review and Herald, March 12, 1895). 7BC 937.1

17 (see EGW on John 13:34). The Right Kind of Sensitiveness—Those who criticize and condemn one another are breaking God's commandments, and are an offense to Him. They neither love God nor their fellow beings. Brethren and sisters, let us clear away the rubbish of criticism and suspicion and complaint, and do not wear your nerves on the outside. Some are so sensitive that they cannot be reasoned with. Be very sensitive in regard to what it means to keep the law of God, and in regard to whether you are keeping or breaking the law. It is this that God wants us to be sensitive about (The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903). 7BC 937.2