[See chapter 68, "Social Relationships."]
The Law of Mutual Dependence.-We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves. The law of mutual dependence runs through all classes of society.-Patriarchs and Prophets, 534, 535 (1890).
Human Beings Made Necessary One to Another.-In the Lord's plan human beings have been made necessary to one another. If all would do their utmost to help those who need their help, their unselfish sympathy and love, what a blessed work might be done. To everyone God has entrusted talents. These talents we are to use to help one another to walk in the narrow path. In this work each one is connected with the other, and all are united with Christ. It is by unselfish service that we improve and increase our talent.-Lt 115, 1903. (HC 182.)
Helping Others Helps Oneself.-Many are in obscurity. They have lost their bearings. They know not what course to pursue. Let the perplexed ones search out others who are in perplexity and speak to them words of hope and encouragement. When they begin to do this work, the light of heaven will reveal to them the path that they should follow. By their words of consolation to the afflicted they themselves will be consoled. By helping others, they themselves will be helped out of their difficulties. Joy takes the place of sadness and gloom. The heart, filled with the Spirit of God, glows with warmth toward every fellow being. Every such a one is no longer in darkness; for his "darkness" is "as the noon day."-MS 116, 1902. (4bc 1151.)
Our Continuing Influence.-We sustain a most solemn relation one to another. Our influence is always either for or against the salvation of souls. We are either gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. We should walk humbly and make straight paths, lest we turn others out of the right way.
We should preserve the strictest chastity in thought and word and deportment. Let us remember that God sets our secret sins in the light of His countenance. There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence. Oh, that we each might become a savor of life unto life to those around us!.-RH, Maranatha, 27, 1888.
Far-reaching Effects of Influence.-We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian; and they become surprised and ashamed, and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them.-Lt 20, 1892. (.)
Discourtesy and Its Influence.-The good qualities which many possess are hidden, and instead of attracting souls to Christ they repulse them. If these persons could see the influence of their uncourteous ways and unkind expressions upon unbelievers and how offensive is such conduct in the sight of God, they would reform their habits, for a lack of courtesy is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to sinners. Selfish, complaining, sour Christians bar the way so that sinners do not care to approach Christ.-The Review and Herald, September 1, 1885. (HC 229.)
Be Lovable.-Let Christ be seen in all that you do. Let all see that you are living epistles of Jesus Christ.... Be lovable. Let your life win the hearts of all who are brought in contact with you. There is too little done at the present time to render the truth attractive to others.-MS 6, 1889.
Every Action an Influence.-Every word you speak, every action you perform, has an influence for good or evil upon those who associate with you; and, oh! how necessary it is that you have Christ dwelling in your heart by faith, that your words may be words of life, and your works, the works of love.-The Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.
Responsible for One's Influence.-God holds everyone responsible for the influence that surrounds his soul, on his own account, and on the account of others. He calls upon young men and young women to be strictly temperate and conscientious in the use of their faculties of mind and body. Their capabilities can be developed only by the diligent use and wise appropriation of their powers to the glory of God and the benefit of their fellowmen.-Lt 145, 1897.
Surrounded With Atmosphere of Faith.-It is of the greatest importance to us that we surround the soul with the atmosphere of faith. Every day we are deciding our own eternal destiny in harmony with the atmosphere that surrounds the soul. We are individually accountable for the influence that we exert, and consequences that we do not see will result from our words and actions.
If God would have saved Sodom for the sake of ten righteous persons, what would be the influence for good that might go out as a result of the faithfulness of the people of God, if everyone who professed the name of Christ were also clothed with His righteousness?
If God could tell the abode and designate the trade of Simon the tanner and definitely direct the centurion as to how he would find him living by the seaside, He also knows us by name, knows what is our trade or business, where we live, and what are our experiences. He knows whether we are clearing the King's highway from all rubbish and hindrance, so that He can beckon our souls onward and upward, or whether we are filling the path with rubbish and blocking up our own way, and placing stumbling blocks in the way of sinners to hinder the salvation of precious souls for whom Christ died.-Und ms 23.
Dealing With Varied Dispositions.-The Lord wants us to be sanctified. We shall have to contend with people of varied dispositions, and we should be in a position where we know how to deal with human minds. We must ask Christ to give us words to speak that will be a blessing. And as we thus seek to help others, we shall be blessed ourselves.-MS 41, 1908.
A Most Important Work.-This work [correcting wrong-doing] is the nicest, the most difficult, ever committed to human beings. It requires the most delicate tact, the finest susceptibility, a knowledge of human nature, and a heaven-born faith and patience, willing to work and watch and wait. It is a work than which nothing can be more important.-Education, 292 (1903).
Delicate Work to Deal With Minds.-It is a very delicate thing to deal with human minds. You may stand up stiffly, and never, never soften their hearts; or you may come close to the afflicted soul and with a heart full of love lead him away from the enemy's battleground, not drive him there and leave him there to become the sport of Satan's temptations.-Lt 102, 1897.
Each Has Peculiar Trials.-We cannot afford to be in any way a hindrance to others. Each has his own peculiar temptations and trials, and we are to stand in a position where we can help and strengthen the tempted. We are to encourage, and, if possible, lift up those that are weak in the faith. By speaking of the promises of God, we may sometimes remove depression from the minds of those who are in trial and difficulty.-MS 41, 1908.
Counsel to a Wife Regarding Personal Relationships.-I am instructed by the Lord to say to you, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24). The Lord asks you to keep close to Him. Speak as He would speak, and act as He would act. Do not let anyone prejudice your mind and lead you to speak unadvisedly. Keep your own soul pure and clear and your thoughts elevated and sanctified. Do not praise or exalt people to their injury, neither be hasty to condemn those whom you think are not acting wisely. Let all see that you love Jesus and trust in Him. Give your husband and your believing and unbelieving friends evidence that you desire them to see the beauty of truth. But do not show that painful, worrying anxiety which often spoils a good work.-Lt 145, 1900.
Christian Understanding.-Those who make the most of their privileges and opportunities will be, in the Bible sense, talented and educated men; not merely learned, but educated in mind, in manners, in deportment. They will be refined, tender, pitiful, affectionate. This, the Lord has shown me, is what He requires of His people. God has given us powers to be used, to be developed and strengthened by education. We should reason and reflect, carefully marking the relation between cause and effect. When this is practiced, there will be on the part of many, greater thoughtfulness and care in regard to their words and actions, that they may fully answer the purpose of God in their creation.-MS 59, 1897.
Frankness Encourages Confidence (counsel to a physician).-If there were far more frankness and less secretiveness, if there were brotherly confidence encouraged, if there were far less of self and more of the spirit of Christ, if you would have a living faith in God, the cloud which is now thrown across the atmosphere of the mind by Satan would be cut away.-Lt 97, 1898.
Reformers, Not Bigots.-The one object to be kept before the mind is that you are reformers and not bigots. In dealing with unbelievers, do not show a contemptible spirit of littleness, for if you stop to haggle over a small sum, you will, in the end, lose a much larger sum. They will say, "That man is a sharper; he would cheat you out of your rights if he possibly could, so be on your guard when you have any dealing with him."
But if in a deal a trifle in your favor is placed to the favor of another, that other will work with you on the same generous plan. Littleness begets littleness, penuriousness begets penuriousness. Those who pursue this course do not see how contemptible it appears to others; especially those not of our faith; and the precious cause of truth bears the stamp of this defect.-Lt 14, 1887. (Evangelism, 90, 91.)
Be Straightforward.-In all our dealings, wherever we may be, we are to be perfectly straightforward. We cannot afford to break one of the commandments of God for the sake of worldly gain. Who are we? Christ said to His disciples, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men."-MS 50, 1904.
Honesty Essential.-In all the details of life the strictest principles of honesty are to be maintained. These are not the principles which govern our world, for Satan-deceiver, liar, and oppressor-is the master, and his subjects follow him and carry out his purposes. But Christians serve under a different Master, and their actions must be wrought in God, irrespective of all selfish gain.
Deviation from perfect fairness in business deals may appear as a small thing in the estimation of some, but our Saviour did not thus regard it. His words on this point are plain and explicit: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much" (Luke 16:10). A man who will overreach his neighbor on a small scale will overreach in a larger scale if the temptation is brought to bear upon him. A false representation in a small matter is as much dishonesty in the sight of God as falsity in a larger matter.
In the Christian world today fraud is practiced to a fearful extent. God's commandment-keeping people should show that they are above all these things. The dishonest practices which mar the dealing of man with his fellowman should never be practiced by one who professes to be a believer in present truth. God's people do great harm to the truth by the least departure from integrity.
A man may not have a pleasant exterior, he may be deficient in many respects, but if he has a reputation for straightforward honesty, he will be respected. Stern integrity covers many objectionable traits of character. A man who steadfastly adheres to truth will win the confidence of all. Not only will his brethren in the faith trust him, but unbelievers will be constrained to acknowledge him as a man of honor.-Lt 3, 1878.
Unbending Integrity Like Pure Gold.-The servants of God are obliged to be more or less connected with the worldly by business transactions, but they should buy and sell with a realization that the eye of God is upon them. No false balances or deceitful weights are to be used, for these are an abomination to the Lord. In every business transaction a Christian will be just what he wants his brethren to think he is. His course of action is guided by underlying principles. He does not scheme; therefore he has nothing to conceal, nothing to gloss over.
He may be criticized, he may be tested, but his unbending integrity will shine forth like pure gold. He is a blessing to all connected with him, for his word is trustworthy. He is a man who will not take advantage of his neighbor. He is a friend and benefactor to all, and his fellowmen put confidence in his counsel. Does he employ laborers to gather in his harvest? Their hard-earned money is not kept back by fraud. Has he money for which he has no immediate use? He relieves the necessities of his less fortunate brother. He does not seek to add to his own land or to fill his pocket by taking advantage of the distressing circumstances in which his neighbor is placed. His object is to help and bless his neighbor.
A truly honest man will never take advantage of weakness or incompetency in order to fill his own purse. He accepts a fair equivalent for that which he sells. If there are defects in the articles sold, he frankly tells his brother or his neighbor, although by so doing he may work against his own pecuniary interests.-Lt 3, 1878.
Understanding Humanity.-He who seeks to transform humanity must himself understand humanity. Only through sympathy, faith, and love can men be reached and uplifted. Here Christ stands revealed as the Master Teacher; of all that ever dwelt on the earth, He alone has perfect understanding of the human soul.-Education, 78 (1903).
There is a science in dealing with those who seem especially weak. If we would teach others, we ourselves must first learn of Christ. We need broad views, that we may do true medical missionary work and show tact in dealing with minds.
Those who are really the least in need of help are likely to receive the most of our attention. But we need to show special wisdom in dealing with those who seem inconsiderate and thoughtless. Some do not comprehend the sacredness of the work of God. Those of the least ability, the thoughtless, and even the indolent, especially demand careful, prayerful consideration. We must exercise tact in dealing with those who seem to be ignorant and out of the way. By persevering effort in their behalf we must help them to become useful in the Lord's work. They will respond readily to a patient, tender, loving interest.
We are to cooperate with the Lord Jesus in restoring the inefficient and the erring to intelligence and purity. This work ranks equally in importance with the work of the gospel ministry. We are called upon by God to manifest an untiring, patient interest in the salvation of those who need divine polishing.-Lt 113, 1905. (.)
Do Not Discuss Grievances.-"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." Who calls them so? All the heavenly intelligences. Then do not encourage any tempted soul to tell you the grievances of a brother or a friend. Tell them that you do not want to hear their words of censure and evil speaking, because your Counselor has told you in His Word that if you cease to stir up strife and become a peacemaker, you will be blessed. Tell them that this is the blessing you are craving.
For Christ's sake do not speak or think evil. May the Lord help us not only to read the Bible, but to practice its teachings. The human agent who is faithful in his work, who unites gentleness with his power, justice with his love, causes rejoicing among the heavenly intelligences, and glorifies God. Let us strive earnestly to be good and to do good, and we shall receive the crown of life that fadeth not away.-MS 116, 1898.
Working for and With Others.-When light flashes into the soul, some who appeared to be most fully given to sin will become successful workers for just such sinners as they themselves once were. Through faith in Christ some will rise to high places of service and be entrusted with responsibilities in the work of saving souls. They see where their own weakness lies, they realize the depravity of their nature. They know the strength of sin, the power of evil habit. They realize their inability to overcome without the help of Christ, and their constant cry is, "I cast my helpless soul on Thee."-The Ministry of Healing, 179 (1905).
Deal Gently.-Let us not try to work ourselves or others, but let us depend upon the Holy Spirit. Deal gently with human beings. With hearts full of spiritual tenderness, melt your way into convicted hearts. Let your words be dipped in the heavenly oil from the two olive branches. We need the golden oil emptied into prepared vessels, that it may be communicated to those who are seeking for the truth. Ever remember that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."-Lt 200, 1899.