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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 2

Chapter 70

Criticism

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Results of Criticism.-Our bodies are built up from what we eat and drink, and the character of our spiritual experience depends on what our minds feed upon and assimilate. By continually dwelling upon the mistakes and defects of others, many become religious dyspeptics.

The Lord has bidden us, "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 on these things" (Philippians 4:8). But those who are so busy in dissecting the words and acts of others to discover all that is objectionable fail to discern the good and pleasant things. They do not eat of the proper food to promote spiritual vitality and healthy growth.-MS 4a, 1893.

Respect and Love One Another.-If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others, we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ for us, the same spirit will flow out to others. We should love and respect one another, notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us largehearted and generous.-Steps to Christ, 121 (1892).

Creating an Unreal World.-You may create an unreal world in your own mind and picture an ideal church where the temptations of Satan no longer prompt to evil, but perfection exists only in your imagination. The world is a fallen world, and the church is a place represented by a field in which grow tares and wheat. They are to grow together until the harvest. It is not our place to uproot the tares, according to human wisdom, lest under the suggestions of Satan, the wheat may be rooted up under the supposition that it is tares. The wisdom that is from above will come to him who is meek and lowly in heart, and that wisdom will not lead him to destroy but to build up the people of God.-Lt 63, 1893.

To Restore and Heal.-We must look on the faults of others, not to condemn, but to restore and heal. Watch unto prayer, go forward and upward, catching more and more of the spirit of Jesus and sowing the same beside all waters.-Lt 89, 1894. (HC 185.)

Satan Fosters Criticism.-Self will ever cherish a high estimate of self. As men lose their first love, they do not keep the commandments of God, and then they begin to criticize one another. This spirit will be constantly striving for the mastery to the close of time. Satan is seeking to foster it in order that brethren in their ignorance may seek to devour one another. God is not glorified but greatly dishonored; the Spirit of God is grieved.

Satan exults because he knows that if he can set brother to watch brother in the church and in the ministry, some will be so disheartened and discouraged as to leave their post of duty. This is not the work of the Holy Spirit; a power from beneath is working in the chambers of the mind and in the soul temple to place his attributes where the attributes of Christ should be.-The General Conference Bulletin, February 25, 1895, p 338.

Scattering From Christ.-Many who profess to gather with Christ are scattering from Him. This is why the church is so weak. Many indulge freely in criticism and accusing. By giving expression to suspicion, jealousy, and discontent, they yield themselves as instruments to Satan.... Frivolity, selfish indulgence, and careless indifference on the part of professed Christians are turning away many souls from the path of life.-Christ's Object Lessons, 340, 341 (1900).

Leaning on Arm of Flesh.-The Lord knows that if we look to man, and trust to man, we are leaning on an arm of flesh. He invites our confidence. There is no limit to His power. Think of the Lord Jesus and His merits and His love, but do not seek to find the defects and dwell upon the mistakes that others have made. Call to your mind the things worthy of your recognition and your praise; and if you are sharp to discern errors in others, be more sharp to recognize the good and praise the good. You may, if you criticize yourselves, find things just as objectionable as that which you see in others. Then let us work constantly to strengthen one another in the most holy faith.-MS 151, 1898.

Attempting to Cover Self by Attack.-Let no one endeavor to cover up his own sins by revealing the mistakes of someone else. God has not given us this work to do. We are to leave others to humble their own hearts, that they may come to the light of the knowledge of God.-MS 56, 1904.

Wearing Nerves on the Outside.-Those who criticize and condemn one another are breaking God's commandments and are an offense to Him. They neither love God nor their fellow beings. Brethren and sisters, let us clear away the rubbish of criticism and suspicion and complaint, and do not wear your nerves on the outside. Some are so sensitive that they cannot be reasoned with. Be very sensitive in regard to what it means to keep the law of God and in regard to whether you are keeping or breaking the law. It is this that God wants us to be sensitive about.-The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903(The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:937.)

Counsel to One Who Mistook Pride for Sensitiveness.-You stand ready to justify yourself by the plea that you are so sensitive, you feel so deeply, you suffer so much. I saw that all this will not excuse you in the sight of God. You mistake pride for sensitiveness. Self is prominent. When self is crucified, then this sensitiveness, or pride, will die; until then you are not a Christian.

To be a Christian is to be Christlike, to possess humility and a meek and quiet spirit that will bear contradiction without being enraged or becoming insane. If the deceptive covering which is about you could be rent asunder so that you could see yourself as God sees you, you would no longer seek to justify self but would fall all broken upon Christ, the only One who can remove the defects in your character and then bind you up.-Testimonies for the Church 2:573 (1870).

Honest Self-examination.-Would all professed Christians use their investigative powers to see what evils needed to be corrected in themselves, instead of talking of others' wrongs, there would be a more healthy condition in the church today.

Some will be honest when it costs nothing; but when policy will pay best, honesty is forgotten. Honesty and policy will not work together in the same mind. In time, either policy will be expelled and truth and honesty reign supreme, or if policy is cherished, honesty will be forgotten. They are never in agreement; they have nothing in common. One is the prophet of Baal, the other is the true prophet of God.

When the Lord makes up His jewels, the true, the frank, the honest, will be looked upon with pleasure. Angels are employed in making crowns for such ones, and upon these star-gemmed crowns will be reflected, with splendor, the light which radiates from the throne of God.-Testimonies for the Church 5:96 (1882).

The Root of Bitterness.-While you so readily think and speak evil of one another, while you allow the root of bitterness to spring up and be cherished, your influence scatters from Christ and hardens hearts in resistance to the sweet spirit of unity and peace. Put it all away without a moment's delay. "Love one another," Christ says, "as I have loved you" (John 15:12).-Lt 33, 1890.

Faith Is Taking God at His Word.-Remember that faith is taking God at His word. The Son of God is preparing a place for you in the mansions above. Let thanksgiving be expressed for this. Do not feel that because you do not always feel uplifted, you are not His child. Take hold with humility and zeal to do the work He asks of you. Appreciate every opportunity to do a work that will make you a blessing to those around you. Let it be your determination to do your part toward making the place where you are a place that God can approve and bless.-Lt 246, 1908.

Sinner's Assurance of Acceptance.-Through the goodness and mercy of Christ the sinner is to be restored to the divine favor. God in Christ is daily beseeching men to be reconciled to God. With outstretched arms He is ready to receive and welcome not only the sinner but the prodigal. His dying love, manifested on Calvary, is the sinner's assurance of acceptance, peace, and love. Teach these things in the simplest form, that the sin-darkened soul may see the light shining from the cross of Calvary.-Lt 15a, 1890. (Selected Messages 1:178, 179.)

I Will Give You Rest.-The Lord has given me a message for you, and not for you only, but also for other faithful souls who are troubled by doubts and fears regarding their acceptance by the Lord Jesus Christ. His word to you is, "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine" (Isaiah 43:1). You desire to please the Lord, and you can do this by believing His promises. He is waiting to take you into a harbor of gracious experience, and He bids you, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). You have had a time of unrest; but Jesus says to you, "Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). The joy of Christ in the soul is worth everything. "Then are they glad," because they are privileged to rest in the arms of everlasting love.-Lt 2, 1914 (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 516.)