2017 2nd Quarter
Lesson 4, April 15-21, Social Relationships
Sabbath, April 15
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” KJV, 1 Peter 4:8, 9, emphasis added.
“Floating rumors are frequently the destroyers of unity among brethren. There are some who watch with open mind and ears to catch flying scandal. They gather up little incidents which may be trifling in themselves, but which are repeated and exaggerated until a man is made an offender for a word. Their motto seems to be, ‘Report, and we will report it.’ These tale-bearers are doing the devil’s work with surprising fidelity, little knowing how offensive their course is to God. If they would spend half the energy and zeal that is given to this unholy work in examining their own hearts, they would find so much to do to cleanse their souls from impurity that they would have no time or disposition to criticize their brethren, and they would not fall under the power of this temptation. The door of the mind should be closed against ‘they say’ or ‘I have heard.’ Why should we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil-surmising to come into our hearts, go to our brethren, and, after frankly but kindly setting before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, pray with and for them? While we cannot love and fellowship those who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of meekness and love that characterized our Master,—a love that thinketh no evil and is not easily provoked.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, June 3, 1884, emphasis added.)
“We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we should guard every avenue by which Satan can approach us with his temptations. A fatal delusion seizes those who have had great light and precious opportunities, but who have not walked in the light nor improved the opportunities which God has given them. Darkness comes upon them; and they fail to make Christ their strength, and fall an easy prey to the snares of the deceiver. A mere assent to the truth will never save a soul from death. We must be sanctified through the truth; every defect of character must be overcome, or it will overcome us and become a controlling power for evil.” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, 444, 445, emphasis added.)
“The subject of the Christian ministry must be set in a new light before the minds of the people. I entreat of you to study the word of God on this point. If you think a minister is making mistakes, it is your duty to go to him in love and meekness and present the matter before him. You may not have a correct idea of his motive or work, and under misapprehension may grow cold to him, close the door of your heart, and fail to receive his message or appreciate his labors. Where alienation exists between a minister and the people, there is something decidedly wrong, either in him or the church-members, and something should be done immediately to work a reform in whoever may be the erring party. He should not be left to wonder what all this coldness and indifference means. He should not be left to seek in vain to find out why he cannot reach the hearts of the people with the message God has given him, and to question why it is that the door of the heart has been closed; for he can realize there is no affection for him, and can have no fellowship with the people for whom he is sent to labor. Has he dropped a word, or done a deed which has wounded you in some way, and he does not know that it has hurt you? Then go to him, tell him his faults between him and you alone, and have the coldness and bitterness of spirit that has been created by an unwitting act on his part, changed to respect and love. You cannot afford to allow any unChristlike spirit to embitter your spirit against your brethren. Christ in his prayer to his Father says, ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and has loved them, as thou hast loved me.’ We should leave no means untried to preserve unity in the church. Receive in the fullness of your heart the words of Christ, and be doers of his word. We cannot receive the blessings that the love and presence of Christ can bring us, if we cherish feelings that will mar the unity that Christ prayed might exist among his disciples.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, July 25, 1893, emphasis added.)