NO REFERENCE TO OPPONENTS’ CLAIMS
The Holy Spirit will apply the word that is spoken in love to the soul. But let it be understood that no good is accomplished when the voice or the pen expresses that which is harsh, or even expresses the truth in a harsh manner. Let the region of human passion be passed by, lest the truth be misapprehended, misinterpreted, and misconstrued. The truth will have quickening power that is spoken under the full influence of the grace of Christ. God’s plan is first to reach the heart. Speak the truth and let Him carry forward the reformatory power and principle; but let us not work according to our own individual impulse.
What matter of good can be accomplished for souls
who are in darkness by castigating them with denunciations?
Those who have not a knowledge of the truth, who
are blinded and warped in judgment, do not understand what
it means. Speak the truth in love. Let the tenderness of Christ
come in to the soul. Make no special reference to what opponents
say, but let the truth alone be spoken--”It is written.”
The truth will cut to the quick. Let not your own spirit and
passions mingle with the truth as common fire with the sacred
flame. Plainly unfold the Word in all its impressiveness.
Many who are now the bitterest opponents of truth are
acting up to their honest convictions of duty, but they will
yet see the truth, and become its warm advocates. Those
who now treat them with ridicule, who manifest a harsh spirit
toward them, will fall under temptation, and bring reproach
upon the cause of God, and cause the loss of souls through
their indiscretion. Many who go into the field at the call made
at the eleventh hour, will through the grace of Christ so present
the truth, that they will be accounted first.
We are not to voice inconsistency. It is our work to advance
the light, to inculcate ideas in the spirit of meekness
and dependence upon God. Let us seek to become overcomers,
and thus receive the overcomers’ reward. Do all in
your power to reflect light, to bring souls to a knowledge of
the truth as it is in Jesus, but abstain from speaking irritating
and provoking words. Present the truth in its simplicity, for
it must be confessed before man as it involves their eternal
NO COMBATIVE ARMOR
The combative armor, the debating spirit, must be laid off.
If we would be Christlike we must reach men where they are.
We have the most solemn message of truth ever borne
to the world. This truth is more and more respected by unbelievers
because it cannot be controverted. In view of this
fact, our young men become self-confident and self-inflated.
They take the truths which have been brought out by other
minds, and without study or earnest prayer meet opponents
and engage in contests, indulging in sharp speeches and
witticisms, flattering themselves that this is doing the work
of a gospel minister. In order to be fitted for God’s work,
these men need as thorough a conversion as Paul experienced.
Ministers must be living representatives of the truth
they preach. They must have greater spiritual life, characterized
by greater simplicity.
MORE ARGUMENT, MORE OPPOSITION
Often, as you seek to present the truth, opposition will be aroused; but if you seek to meet the opposition with argument, you will only multiply it, and that you cannot afford to do. Hold to the affirmative.
LIMITATIONS OF DEBATE
Never should you enter a discussion where so much
is at stake, relying upon your aptness to handle strong arguments.
If it cannot be well avoided, enter the conflict,
but enter upon it with firm trust in God and in the spirit of
humility, in the spirit of Jesus, who has bidden you learn
of Him, who is meek and lowly in heart. And then in order
to glorify God and exemplify the character of Christ, you
should never take unlawful advantage of your opponent.
Lay aside sarcasm and playing upon words. Remember
that you are in a combat with Satan and his angels, as well
as with the man.
This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and
Song, pp. 240-242 by Ellen G. White.