Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

October 24, 1893

Brotherly Love Needed

By Mrs. E. G. White

The Lord and the intelligences of heaven are looking upon the church that has been favored with great light. If the people who have heard the truth for this time, walk in the light as Christ is in the light, they will have the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit. Their hearts will be softened and subdued, and they will be meek and lowly of heart, like their Saviour, and it can be said of them, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” They will love their Redeemer with supreme affection, and honor all those who love him, and who follow his precepts. They will not mount upon the judgment-seat, to judge their brother's motives and work, because they will remember that Christ has bidden them, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

I am filled with sorrow as I see finite men who claim to be the sons of God, filled with evil surmising, and ready to speak evil of their brethren in the truth, ready to weigh others in their own scales of human opinion, and place their estimate upon those of whom they really understand but little. The worst of it is that often those who ought to understand why such action is out of place, drink in the spirit of the accuser, go to the polluted fountain of suspicion and distrust, and turning from the course justice marks out, are guided by some one's hearsay of another's action or character. By this course God's Holy Spirit is grieved, and the churches are weakened by the influence of distrust and suspicion; for they are led to speak evil of those who stand far better in the sight of God than do their accusers. Are we to take reports, hearsay, as if they were verity and truth? Are we not to rebuke the talebearer who would make a condemned brother's course appear as bad as possible? The true brethren of Christ are those who guard the interests of their brethren and sisters. How inappropriate it is to condemn others, when every soul is to be saved, not on his own merits, but by the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour! We are all erring, finite creatures, accountable to God for our words, works, and influence.

O that the mercy and love of God were cultivated by every member of our churches! O that brotherly love might be revived, never to wane, but to grow more and more fervent! It is true that words of admonition and counsel are frequently needed in the church, but they are never to be given by those who are filled with suspicion and distrust, who are eager to weigh others in the scales of their own opinions. No one can do the work of reproving and counseling in the way that Christ would have it done, whose heart is not filled with peace and love. We are near the end, there is no time to waste in educating ourselves in the line of accusation of brethren, and we are not to take up a reproach against our neighbor. Deal tenderly and graciously with every soul, and especially deal tenderly with those who are liable to err. They, of all others, need your help the most. Never take up a report against a brother or a neighbor, or harbor evil surmisings against him. Thou shalt not imagine evil in thy heart against thy brother.

The powers of darkness will assault every soul, but let us not join with the evil one in his work, and deal with severity to discourage and dishearten the weak and erring. Let us be pitiful, compassionate one to another, and let an influence go out from us to heal, to bind up, to establish, rather than to wound and to uproot. There is altogether too much haste in doing what is called “the square thing,” and often that which we think is justice, the Lord writes in his book as oppression. The vows we take on entering the church either mean what they say, or they mean nothing. Let us love one another, be kind and courteous. O how much better would we have appeared before God if we had manifested an appreciation of the labor that has been done among us. Those who have not had the burden of different responsibilities, may look back when some mistake is apparent, and say, “How much better could such and such an enterprise have been carried on;” but it may be that had they been placed in similar circumstances to those of the one they think erring, they might have done no better, or not as well.

Prejudice is a terrible thing in the sight of God. It was prejudice that crucified the world's Redeemer. Let us as a people put away all prejudice; for it blinds the mind, and makes men incapable of doing justice to those they imagine blameworthy. It will cause men to sit in judgment upon brethren whose inmost souls they cannot read, and if they could, would not understand. Instead of creating discords, of judging others, we need to bind the members of our churches together by the cords of strong brotherly love in heavenly union. If a brother is halting, it is a great sin to set his case before the brethren in a discouraging light, and set others on his track, that they may discover his many frailties. This is a Satanic proceeding, and altogether out of harmony with the Spirit of Christ. Instead of looking for the faults of our brethren, let us seek for every redeeming quality, obtain his confidence, come close to the one who needs his hands upheld, his feeble knees strengthened. Let us, brethren, make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Instead of drawing apart, let us press together as never before, working shoulder to shoulder. There must be no discordant notes struck now, there must be no alienation. We should present to the world a united front, and make it manifest that we are one in Christ Jesus, one with the brethren, bound in covenant relation, under obligation to answer the prayer of Christ to be one in him as he is one with the Father. Then we can counsel together because the love of Christ is in our hearts, we can pray one for another, and claim the promises of God. We could then feel secure in the love of our brethren, and know that upon turning our back, we would not be stabbed with some evil report or judgment.

God desires that we should have tender, sanctified regard one for another, and as dear children in his family, we need to have the pure love of Christ. O, shall not the seed that produces roots of bitterness and unseemly fruit be banished from our hearts, that we may cherish the heavenly plant of love? As mature Christians we shall love more and more, not less and less. We need the warmth and glow of Christ in our cold, stony hearts. We want our hearts broken by the love of Christ, and then we shall defend the characters of those who are giving their lives to the service of him who has died for them. We shall not then act the part of accusers, and treat our brethren and their labors as worthless. Let us daily pray that we may be led to a higher plane of thought and living, that we may love in sincerity and in Christlike deeds.

We are to watch for souls as those that must give an account. Instead of criticising, pray for deliverance from this evil habit; for while our time is occupied with this kind of doing, souls for whom Christ died are perishing, whom we might save. Many are starving for the bread of life, and there is no time for accusing the brethren; rather pray one for another that ye may be healed, and go forth to seek and to save the lost and wandering sheep. Find the erring, discouraged ones by careful, diligent search, and bring them back to the fold. Christ has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Strive to have a real connection with Christ, and become laborers together with God. “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Work with self hidden in Jesus, and the Lord will add to the church such as shall be saved. The great Master Shepherd will give wisdom to the under shepherds, that they may become living, working agents for his use. Let them not seek to exalt themselves, but to lift up Jesus; then they may go in and out and find pasture. They will then be partakers of the riches of the grace of Christ, which passeth knowledge.

God cannot commit his sheep and lambs to the care of a church who make it manifest that they have no aptitude or wisdom to care for the flock of his pasture. But this state of inefficiency need not continue; for we may have high thoughts of God's mercy and infinite love.

Sinful and worthless creatures though we are, through a vital connection with Christ we yet may be renewed in knowledge and true holiness, and thus reflect the glory and image of our Creator and Redeemer, and be qualified to care for his sheep and lambs. Not only have the sheep and lambs been dealt with in hardness, but even the shepherds themselves have been treated with reckless disregard. They have been spoken of in a way that shows that many in high and lower positions have little courtesy to give to God's ordained ministers. The churches themselves have been educated in such a way that they have had too little respect for those who preach the word of God, and who for years have given full proof of their ministry. But this way of dealing with the ministers and with the members of the family of God must be changed. The blessing of God cannot rest upon those who manifest little respect for the workers together with him.

My brethren, I charge you to close your ears to faultfinders, close your hearts that they shall not be recipients of evil seeds of suspicion and distrust, and open your hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. In the fold of Jesus Christ the sheep and the lambs are to be gathered in one flock, to be nourished, to be defended from the attacks of wolves. Those who come newly into the faith are to be encouraged so that they shall have confidence in the ministers who walk worthily before the flock of God. They are to be fed with the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby.

We are waiting for the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. This faith distinguishes us from all other denominations, and as those who wait for the Lord, let us put on “as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

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