Reflecting Christ in Speech, Writing, and Attitude

Reflecting Christ in Speech, Writing, and Attitude
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From time to time there are those who write and speak in such a way to correct and “set straight” others. These (the ones being “set straight”) include fellow members, church leaders at various levels of the church and, of course, non-members. Unfortunately, at times such criticisms tend to be conveyed in a derogatory manner. Additionally, it appears that such persons seeking to “set straight” come across as having “a holier than thou attitude,” possessing privileged information and understanding of new light. The impression is further conveyed that they are being called by God to purify the church and “straighten” others. In the process, the writings of Ellen White are often misquoted and taken out of context to support cherished positions. Against this backdrop, I seek to establish a few principles from the writings of Ellen White that may prove beneficial.  (Before sharing those points, I admit that pastors and members, I’m included, are not exempted from criticism; however, let them be constructive. If one refuses to accept, God will judge him or her accordingly).
 
No Sharp Thrusts
          Ellen White states, “Let not those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm and that will hedge up the way and hinder us from doing the work that we should do in order to reach all classes, the Catholics included” (LDE 90.2). While she speaks to persons who write for our papers, the principles may apply otherwise. Furthermore, she explains: “It is our work to speak the truth in love and not to mix in with the truth the unsanctified elements of the natural heart and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies. . . .” Ibid. Additionally, she points out, “We are not to use harsh and cutting words. Keep them out of every article written, drop them out of every address given. Let the Word of God do the cutting, the rebuking; let finite men hide and abide in Jesus Christ” (9T 240, 241, 244, 1909).  [LDE 90.3].
 
Beware of Side Issues
            A point to be noted is, “God has not passed His people by and chosen one solitary man here and another there as the only ones worthy to be entrusted with His truth. He does not give one man new light contrary to the established faith of the body.” She adds, “In every reform men have arisen making this claim. . . . Let none be self-confident, as though God had given them special light above their brethren. . . .”  (Italicized for emphasis) [LDE 90.6]. There is the tendency for one to accept “some new and original idea which does not seem to conflict with the truth.”  Dwelling upon it, “it seems to him to be clothed with beauty and importance, for Satan has power to give this false appearance. At last, it becomes the all-absorbing theme, the one great point around which everything centers, and the truth is uprooted from the heart. . . ” [LDE 91.1].
 
Emphasize Unity, Not Differences
Mrs. White clarifies that “There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth, and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience.” This is an excellent point, and she counsels, “Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment, for ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety.’ . . .” [LDE 91.3].
            As followers of Christ, clergy and laity, we must be willing to subject ourselves to legitimate authority, the word of God and the policies of the church. In addition to being submissive, we should seek to model Christ in our pronouncements, writings and attitude. Thereby, our lives would be reflective of Christ’s life in all that we say and do.