Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 21, 1904

The Value of Christlike Love

Mrs. E. G. White

The Lord desires me to call the attention of his people to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified, heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,” Paul declares, “I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.”

How beautiful the earth was when it came from the Creator's hand! God presented before the universe a world in which even his all-seeing eye could find no spot or stain. Each part of the creation occupied the part assigned to it, and answered the purpose for which it was created. Peace and holy joy filled the earth. There was no confusion, no clashing. There was no disease to afflict man or beast, and the vegetable kingdom was without taint or corruption. God looked upon the work of his hands, wrought out by Christ, and pronounced it “very good.” He looked upon a perfect world, in which there was no sin, no imperfection.

But a change came. Satan tempted Adam, and he fell. He who in heaven had become disloyal and had been cast out, made lying reports of God to the beings he had created, and they believed his lie. Sin entered the world, and death by sin. The consequences of our first parents’ disloyalty we now have to meet as we work for God, and until the close of this earth's history our labors will become more and more trying.

I entreat the members of our churches not to make the work more trying than it necessarily is by watching one another for a word or an act upon which to comment unfavorably. Let them, if a report is brought to them about some one, make it a rule to do just as Christ has said should be done in such cases. Let them follow the counsel of the Great Teacher, who gave his life for the life of the world. His directions are plain. “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” “Tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Without delay make every effort to heal the wrong that exists. Do not, by speaking unwise words, give the enemy opportunity to arouse suspicion and evil-surmising in the mind of your brother. Be determined to do all in your power to make the wrong right. Do not tell to a third person the story of the difficulty. Go directly to the one who has erred, and “tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Go to him, not to condemn, but to seek for reconciliation, because Christ has told you to love one another as he has loved you.

Our gifts, our prayers, are not acceptable to God while we leave this duty undone, and let the poison of envy and evil-surmising take possession of our souls, to destroy our union and happiness. O, how much unhappiness would be saved, how many evil thoughts would be quenched, if believers would take up the work that Christ has said must be done to prevent evil speaking! We pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.” Do we do our part to remove every stumbling-block from before the feet of our brother? Too often our prayers are hindered by our pride of heart, by our refusal to confess faults and to remove wrong impressions. Let us remember that our prayers are not acceptable to God while we suffer a fellow worker to misapprehend us. If we are not to blame for the misunderstanding that exists, we can, perhaps, make an explanation that will remove the misunderstanding. If we are to blame, if we have left a wrong impression on a brother's mind, we are certainly under obligation to do all in our power to remove this impression.

Let the suspicious ones, who think and speak evil of their brethren, remember that they are doing the devil's drudgery. Let every one pass over little differences and mistakes without comment. Do not magnify the small mistakes made by some one, but think of the good that is in him. Each time mistakes are thought of and talked about, they grow larger. A mountain is made out of a molehill. Ill-feeling and a lack of confidence are the result.

To many these words are applicable: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”

So great is the intemperance in speech that much instruction has been given on this subject by the Great Teacher. He has given special directions for the discipline of the tongue. Study and obey these directions. Check the harsh words that, if spoken, would create difference and alienation. Speak words that will cement hearts, not estrange them,—words that will heal, not wound. When difficulties arise among church-members, let them be cleared away before the Sabbath comes. This should be regarded as a Christian duty by every church-member. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, ... and be ye thankful.” Are you troubled and perplexed? Sweep away the rubbish that has been accumulating before the door of the heart, and open the door, inviting Jesus to come in and abide as an honored guest. Bring peace and comfort into your own heart and the hearts of others. This is most blessed missionary work.

The Lord has instructed me to say to his people, Work for perfection. Do nothing that will cause disaffection to spring up in hearts. Do not serve the enemy. Overcome your inclination to find fault and condemn. Give no place to him whose delight it is to accuse. Remember, my beloved brethren and sisters, that you are pleasing and helping Satan by every word you utter that disparages another.

I greatly desire that you shall follow the directions that Christ has laid down. As you do this, he will certainly help you to adjust the difficulties that exist. He will help you not to make dissension by magnifying little mistakes. The light that the Lord has given me is that he will greatly bless his people, if they will not think or speak evil of one another, but go directly to the one they think is in the wrong, and in a kind, compassionate manner point out his mistake. May the Lord help those who have learned to criticize, to learn to think no evil, and to speak only good words,—words of comfort and healing. Then they will rejoice; for they will have evidence that they are laborers together with God.

Christ loved the church, “and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.”

My brethren and sisters, I beseech you to give diligent heed to these words, because the day of the Lord is right upon us. You have no time to lose. Do not neglect the word of God to you.

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee.)”

Will you not, as servants of the Most High God, give heed to these words? Will you not respond to God's mercy and compassion and love toward you by loving one another as Christ has loved you?

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.” Remember that when you speak words that disparage one another, the ministry is blamed. The lack of power in the church is charged to the ministry, when often it is directly chargeable to the members, because they do not mix faith with their hearing.

The ministers are to be men of faith, men who give expression to the pure love of God. And the members are to give no offense in anything, “that the ministry be not blamed.” No unkind dealing or harsh words are to find a place in their experience.

“In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings.” We should be preparing for these things; for they will come. Those who share in Christ's glory must share in his sufferings.

May the Lord lead every minister and every lay member to turn to him with full purpose of heart, and make diligent work for repentance. Thus only can they obtain the sanctification of the Spirit. How true are the words of Paul: “Ye are not straightened in us, but ye are straightened in your own affections.” Many complain of others because their own hearts are not in unity with the Spirit of God. When self is crucified, Christ will take possession of the soul-temple.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.”

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Let every one humble his heart before God, and make a surrender of body, soul, and spirit to him, that he may give his people his rich grace abundantly. Let the heart be closed against selfishness. Let us follow the example of Christ. If we fail of doing this, we shall fail of receiving a welcome into the city of God. He who continues to be a transgressor of the law of God, even though he break but one precept, can have no place in the royal family.

I entreat those who have given so much time to talking of the faults of others, to cease this cruel work, and obey the words, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” The divine directory, God's holy Word, is in our hands. In the toil of business and the unceasing activity of daily life, this Word is to be our guide. This Word is appreciated by him who is striving to overcome. It is to him as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Let God's people set a perfect example, honoring Christ in every place, in every difficulty following his directions. Then at last they will be received into the family of the redeemed, and there will be given unto them a crown of immortal life.

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