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    An Appeal for Unity

    Workers for Christ are to strive for unity. We are the children of the same family, and have one heavenly Father. Let us not put on garments of heaviness, and cherish doubts and a lack of confidence in our brethren. We should not hurt our souls by gathering the thistles and the thorns, but, instead, we should gather the roses and the lilies and the pinks, and express their fragrance in our words and acts.SpTB09 33.1

    The following is part of a talk given to the ministers assembled at the General Conference in 1883:SpTB09 33.2

    “‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things.’SpTB09 33.3

    “The dealings of God with His people often appear mysterious. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. Many times His way of dealing is so contrary to our plans and expectations that we are amazed and confounded. We do not understand our perverse natures; and often when we are gratifying self, following our own inclinations, we flatter ourselves that we are carrying out the mind of God. And so we need to search the Scriptures, and be much in prayer, that, according to His promise, the Lord may give us wisdom.SpTB09 33.4

    “Though we have an individual work and an individual responsibility before God; we are not to follow our own judgment, regardless of the opinions and feelings of our brethren, for this course would lead to disorder in the church. It is the duty of ministers to respect the judgment of their brethren; but their relations to one another, as well as the doctrines they teach, should be brought to the test of the law and the testimony; then, if hearts are teachable, there will be no division among us. Some are inclined to be disorderly, and are drifting away from the great landmarks of the faith; but God is moving upon His ministers to be one in doctrine and in spirit.SpTB09 34.1

    “Brethren sometimes associate together for years, and think they can trust those they know so well, just as they would trust members of their own family. There is a freedom and confidence in this association which could not exist among those not of the same faith. This is very pleasant while brotherly love continues; but let the ‘accuser of the brethren’ gain admittance to the heart of one of these men, controlling the mind and the imagination, and jealousies are created, suspicion and envy are harbored; and he who supposed himself secure in the love and friendship of his brother, finds himself mistrusted, and his motives misjudged. The false brother forgets his own human frailties, forgets his obligation to think and speak no evil lest he dishonor God and wound Christ in the person of His saints; and every defect that can be thought of or imagined is commented upon unmercifully, and the character of a brother is represented as dark and questionable....SpTB09 34.2

    “If Satan can employ professed believers to act as accusers of the brethren, he is justly pleased; for those who do this are just as truly serving him as was Judas when he betrayed Christ, although they may be doing it ignorantly. Satan is no less active now than in Christ's day, and those who lend themselves to do his work will manifest his spirit.SpTB09 35.1

    “Floating rumors are often the destroyers of unity among brethren. There are some who watch with open mind and ears to catch flying scandal. They gather up little incidents which may be trifling in themselves, but which are repeated and exaggerated until a man is made an offender for a word. Their motto seems to be, ‘Report, and we will report it.’ These tale-bearers are doing Satan's work with surprising fidelity, little knowing how offensive their course is to God.... The door of the mind should be closed against, ‘They say,’ or, ‘I have heard.’ Why should we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil surmising to come into our hearts, go to our brethren, and after frankly but kindly setting before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, pray with and for them? While we can not fellowship with those who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of meekness and love that characterized our Master,—a love that thinketh no evil, and is not easily provoked....SpTB09 35.2

    “Let us diligently cultivate the pure principles of the gospel of Christ,—the religion, not of self-esteem, but of love, meekness, and lowliness of heart. Then we shall love our brethren, and esteem them better than ourselves. Our minds will not dwell on scandal and flying reports. But ‘whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,’ we shall ‘think on these things.’” [Gospel Workers, 445-447.]SpTB09 35.3

    As a people, we have been reproved by God for doing so little. How important, then, that we guard carefully against everything that might dishearten or weaken the influence of one soul who is doing a work that God would have done. There are victories to be gained if we present a united front and individually seek the Lord for strength and guidance.SpTB09 36.1

    Ellen G. White

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