Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


Love Among Brethren

The characteristics most needful to be cherished by God's commandment-keeping people are patience and long-suffering, peace and love. When love is lacking, irretrievable loss is sustained; for souls are driven away from the truth, even after they have been connected with the cause of God. Our brethren in responsible positions, who have strength of influence, should remember the words of the apostle Paul, spoken by the Holy Spirit: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.” Romans 15:1-3. Again he says: “Brethren, if a man be over taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1, 2. 6T 398.1

Bear in mind that the work of restoring is to be our burden. This work is not to be done in a proud, officious, masterly way. Do not say, by your manner, “I have the power, and I will use it,” and pour out accusations upon the erring one. Do your restoring “in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The work set before us to do for our brethren is not to cast them aside, not to press them into discouragement or despair by saying: “You have disappointed me, and I will not try to help you.” He who sets himself up as full of wisdom and strength, and bears down upon one who is oppressed and distressed and longing for help, manifests the spirit of the Pharisee, and wraps himself about with the robe of his own self-constituted dignity. In his spirit he thanks God that he is not as other men are, and supposes that his course is praiseworthy and that he is too strong to be tempted. But “if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Verse 3. He himself is in constant danger. He who ignores the grave necessities of his brother will in the providence of God be brought over the same ground that his brother has traveled in trial and sorrow, and by a bitter experience it will be proved to him that he is as helpless and needy as was the suffering one whom he repulsed. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Verse 7. 6T 398.2

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye My joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:1-5. 6T 399.1

The closer we keep to Christ, and the more meek and lowly and self-distrustful we are, the firmer will be our hold on Christ, and the greater will be our power, through Christ, to convert sinners; for it is not the human agent that moves the soul. Heavenly intelligences co-operate with the human agent and impress the truth upon the heart. Abiding in Christ we are able to exert an influence over others; but it is because of the presence of Him who says: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. The power we have to overcome Satan is the result of Christ working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. 6T 399.2