Reformation in the Heart, February 14
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1.
We are threads in the great web of humanity, and, as such, related with each other. Our life leaves upon the minds of others impressions which will be transferred even into eternity. Angels take note of our works, of our words, of the spirit which actuates us. Those who desire to reform others must begin the reformation in their own hearts, and show that they have acquired kindliness and humility of heart in the school of Christ. Those who have charge of others must learn first to master themselves, to refrain from blunt expressions and exaggerated censure. There are cutting words which are indulged in, which may offend, hurt, and leave upon a soul a scar which will remain. There are sharp words that fall as sparks upon an inflammable temper. There are biting words that bite like vipers.
Intimate connections between imperfect, defective characters may often, as a result, do great harm to both persons, for Satan has more influence upon their minds than the Spirit of Jesus. They do not consider each other under a true and impartial light, but under the most unfavorable light possible. By trying to correct evil in a hasty, cross spirit, two evils will be created instead of correcting one. Mutual support is essential. It is the fruit of the Spirit which grows upon the Christian tree.
A radical conversion must take place as regards the manner in which the various minds are to be dealt with. If every apparent injustice is considered as an affront; if amends for every slight injury are required with a spirit different from the spirit of Christ; if harsh language is used; if for difficulties small or great a spirit of impatience is manifested which stirs up and irritates, there will soon be a state of things worse than if nothing had been done to correct the evil. If such dispositions are entertained by believers; if everyone feels free to utter hasty words, we shall have miserable hearts, miserable families, and in the church, discord and dissension.
But there is a Christlike way of settling all these things. The presence of Christ's love in the heart will lead to love the very ones who are astray and who are in the wrong….
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).—Manuscript 24, February 14, 1887. “Testimony for the Workers of the Publishing House at Basel.”