Mind, Character and Personality/Communication
Far-reaching Influence of Words—The voice and tongue are gifts from God, and if rightly used, they are a power for God. Words mean very much. They may express love, devotion, praise, melody to God, or hatred and revenge. Words reveal the sentiments of the heart. They may be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The tongue is a world of blessing or a world of iniquity.—MS 40, 1896. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1159.)
Desolating Hail or Seeds of Love?—Some are seen to come forth from their daily communion with God clothed with the meekness of Christ. Their words are not like a desolating hail, crushing everything before it; they come forth sweetly from their lips. They scatter seeds of love and kindness all along their path, and that all unconsciously, because Christ lives in their heart. Their influence is felt more than it is seen.—MS 24, 1887. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1159.)
Words That Cheer—The wails of a world’s sorrow are heard all around us. Sin is pressing its shadow upon us, and our minds must be ready for every good word and work. We know that we have the presence of Jesus. The (p.573) sweet influence of His Holy Spirit is teaching and guiding our thoughts, leading us to speak words that will cheer and brighten the pathway of others.—Testimonies for the Church 6:115 (1900).
Cheerful Words—If we look on the bright side of things, we shall find enough to make us cheerful and happy. If we give smiles, they will be returned to us; if we speak pleasant, cheerful words, they will be spoken to us again.—The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1885. Christ-centered Words—The words of men express their own human thoughts, but those of Christ are spirit and life.—Testimonies for the Church 5:433 (1885).
Angels are listening to hear what kind of report you are bearing to the world about your heavenly Master. Let your conversation be of Him who liveth to make intercession for you before the Father. When you take the hand of a friend, let praise to God be on your lips and in your heart. This will attract his thoughts to Jesus.—Steps to Christ, 119 (1892).
Christ Came Right to the Point—In Christ’s teaching there is no long, farfetched, complicated reasoning. He comes right to the point. In His ministry He read every heart as an open book, and from the inexhaustible store of His treasure-house He drew things both new and old to illustrate and enforce His teachings. He touched the heart and awakened the sympathies.—MS 24, 1891. (Evangelism, 171.)
Easy to Understand—Christ’s manner of teaching was beautiful and attractive, and it was ever characterized by simplicity. He unfolded the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven through the use of figures and symbols with which His hearers were familiar; and the common people heard Him gladly, for they could comprehend His words. There were no high-sounding words used, to understand (p.574) which it was necessary to consult a dictionary.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 240 (1913).
He Used Plain Language—Argument is good in its place, but far more can be accomplished by simple explanations of the Word of God. The lessons of Christ were illustrated so clearly that the most ignorant could readily comprehend them. Jesus did not use long and difficult words in His discourses; He used plain language, adapted to the minds of the common people. He went no further into the subject He was expounding than they were able to follow Him.—Gospel Workers, 169 (1915).
Serious Subjects Versus Sentimental Nonsense—What is more worthy to engross the mind than the plan of redemption? It is a subject that is exhaustless. The love of Jesus, the salvation offered to fallen man through His infinite love, holiness of heart, the precious, saving truth for these last days, the grace of Christ—these are subjects which may animate the soul and cause the pure in heart to feel that joy which the disciples felt when Jesus came and walked with them as they traveled toward Emmaus.
He who has centered his affections upon Christ will relish this kind of hallowed association and will gather divine strength by such intercourse; but he who has no relish for this kind of conversation and who is best pleased to talk sentimental nonsense has wandered far away from God and is becoming dead to holy and noble aspirations. The sensual, the earthly, is interpreted by such to be heavenly.—Testimonies for the Church 5:600 (1889).
Reaching Out for Human Sympathy—When the conversation is of a frivolous character and savors of a dissatisfied reaching out after human sympathy and appreciation, it springs from love-sick sentimentalism, and neither the youth nor the men with gray hairs are secure. When the truth of God is an abiding principle in the (p.575) heart, it will be like a living spring. Attempts may be made to repress it, but it will gush forth in another place; it is there and cannot be repressed. The truth in the heart is a wellspring of life. It refreshes the weary and restrains vile thought and utterance.—Testimonies for the Church 5:600, 601 (1889).
Never Utter a Word of Doubt—All have trials—griefs hard to bear, temptations hard to resist. Do not tell your troubles to your fellow mortals but carry everything to God in prayer. Make it a rule never to utter one word of doubt or discouragement. You can do much to brighten the life of others and strengthen their efforts, by words of hope and holy cheer.—Steps to Christ, 119, 120 (1892).
Our Words Influence Us—The words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are.
It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light. The habit of careless and irreverent criticism reacts upon the character in fostering irreverence and unbelief. Many a man indulging this habit has gone on unconscious of danger until he was ready to criticize and reject the work of the Holy Spirit.—The Desire of Ages, 323 (1898).
Words of Reproach React on Oneself—Words of reproach react on one’s own soul. The training of the tongue should begin with ourselves personally. Let us speak evil of no man.—MS 102, 1904. (p.576)
Speak Words That Give Courage and Hope—There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil. Do not discourage such a one in his hard struggle. Cheer him with brave, hopeful words that shall urge him on his way. Thus the light of Christ may shine from you. “None of us liveth to himself” (Romans 14:7). By our unconscious influence others may be encouraged and strengthened, or they may be discouraged and repelled from Christ and the truth.—Steps to Christ, 120 (1892).
Little Courtesies and Affectionate Words—It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life’s happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words and the little courtesies of life which helps compose the sum of life’s wretchedness. It will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of those around us constitutes a large share of the life record in heaven. And the fact will also be revealed that the care of self, irrespective of the good and happiness of others, is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father.—Testimonies for the Church 2:133, 134 (1868).
Guard Against Scorn, Indifference, or Sneers—All are to gather the precious treasures of love, not merely for favorites, but for every soul who has his hand and heart in the work of the ministry; for all who do this work are the Lord’s. Through them He works. Learn lessons of love from the life of Jesus.
Let men be careful how they speak to their fellowmen. There is to be no egotism, no lording it over God’s heritage. A bitter sneer should not rise in any mind or heart. No tinge of scorn should be heard in the voice. Speak a word of your own; take an indifferent attitude; show suspicion, prejudice, jealousy; and by mismanagement the work will be done for a soul.—Lt 50, 1897. (p.577)
Faultfinding and Rebukes Encourage Deception—My brother, your overbearing words hurt your children. As they advance in years their tendency to criticize will grow. Faultfinding is corrupting your life and is extending to your wife and to your children. Your children are not encouraged to give you their confidence or to acknowledge their faults, because they know that your stern rebuke is sure to follow. Your words are often as a desolating hail which breaks down tender plants. It is impossible to estimate the harm thus done. Your children practice deception in order to avoid the hard words you speak. They will evade the truth to escape censure and punishment. A hard, cold command will do them no good.—Lt 8a, 1896. (The Adventist Home, 439, 440.)
Weed Out Every Careless Word—Remember that by your words you shall be justified, and by your words condemned. The tongue needs bridling. The words you speak are seeds sown, which produce fruit either good or evil. Now is your sowing time.
The good man, from the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things. Why? Because Christ is an abiding presence in the soul. The sanctifying truth is a treasure-house of wisdom to all who practice the truth. As a living spring it is springing up unto everlasting life. The one who has not Christ abiding in his heart will indulge in cheap talk, exaggerated statements, that make mischief. The tongue that utters perverse things, common things, slang phrases, that tongue needs to be treated with the hot coals of juniper.—MS 17, 1895.
Grumbling Stunts Growth—There are men who possess excellent faculties but who have come to a standstill. They do not go forward to victory. And the ability with which God has endowed them is of no value to His cause because it is unused. Many of these men are found among the grumblers. They grumble because, they say, they are not appreciated. But they do not appreciate themselves (p.578) sufficiently to cooperate with the Greatest Teacher the world has ever known.—The Review and Herald, March 10, 1903.
No Critical, Blunt, or Severe Words (counsel to a minister and author)—The Lord will help every one of us where we need help the most in the grand work of overcoming and conquering self. Let the law of kindness be upon your lips and the oil of grace in your heart. This will produce wonderful results. You will be tender, sympathetic, courteous. You need all these graces. The Holy Spirit must be received and brought into your character; then it will be as holy fire, giving forth incense which will rise up to God, not from lips that condemn, but as a healer of the souls of men. Your countenance will express the image of the divine.
No sharp, critical, blunt, or severe words should be spoken. This is common fire and must be left out of all our councils and intercourse with our brethren. God requires every soul in His service to kindle their censers from the coals of sacred fire.
The common, severe, harsh words that come from your lips so readily must be withheld and the Spirit of God speak through the human agent. By beholding the character of Christ you will become changed into His likeness. The grace of Christ alone can change your heart, and then you will reflect the image of the Lord Jesus. God calls upon us to be like Him—pure, holy, and undefiled. We are to bear the divine image.—Lt 84, 1899. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1164.)
Words That Destroy Life—Severe tests will come to you. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that by vehemence you will wound yourself. If under all circumstances you will sit in heavenly places in Christ, your words will not be charged with bullets that wound hearts and that may destroy life.—Lt 169, 1902.
Talking Doubts Increases Doubts—We are not to talk our doubts and trials, because they grow bigger every time (p.579) we talk them. Every time we talk them, Satan has gained the victory; but when we say, “I will commit the keeping of my soul unto Him, as unto a faithful witness,” then we testify that we have given ourselves to Jesus Christ without any reservation, and then God gives us light and we rejoice in Him. We want to place ourselves under the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, and then we shall be a light in the world. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).—MS 17, 1894.
Talking Faith Increases Faith—The more you talk faith, the more faith you will have. The more you dwell upon discouragement, talking to others about your trials, and enlarging upon them, to enlist the sympathy which you crave, the more discouragements and trials you will have. Why mourn over that which we cannot avoid? God is inviting us to close the windows of the soul earthward and open them heavenward that He may flood our hearts with the glory which is shining across the threshold of heaven.—MS 102, 1901.
Reproof Sometimes Needed—While our words are ever to be kind and tender, no words should be spoken that will lead a wrongdoer to think that his way is not objectionable to God. This is a kind of sympathy that is earthly and deceiving. No license is given for undue manifestation of affection, for sentimental sympathy. Wrongdoers need counsel and reproof, and must sometimes be sharply rebuked.—MS 17, 1899.
What the Words Reveal—You cannot be too careful of what you say, for the words you utter show what power is controlling your mind and heart. If Christ rules in your heart, your words will reveal the purity, beauty, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by His will. But since his fall, Satan has been an accuser of (p.580) the brethren, and you must be on guard lest you reveal the same spirit.—Lt 69, 1896.
Repetition Necessary—Do not think, when you have gone over a subject once, that your hearers will retain in their minds all that you have presented. There is danger of passing too rapidly from point to point. Give short lessons, in plain, simple language, and let them be often repeated. Short sermons will be remembered far better than long ones. Our speakers should remember that the subjects they are presenting may be new to some of their hearers; therefore the principal points should be gone over again and again.—Gospel Workers, 168 (1915).
Nervous, Hurried Manner Impairs Communication—Ministers and teachers should give special attention to the cultivation of the voice. They should learn to speak, not in a nervous, hurried manner, but with slow, distinct, clear utterance, preserving the music of the voice. The Saviour’s voice was as music to the ears of those who had been accustomed to the monotonous, spiritless preaching of the scribes and Pharisees. He spoke slowly and impressively, emphasizing those words to which He wished His hearers to give special heed. Old and young, ignorant and learned, could catch the full meaning of His words. This would have been impossible had He spoken in a hurried way and rushed sentence upon sentence without a pause. The people were very attentive to Him, and it was said of Him that He spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees; for His word was as of one who had authority.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 239, 240 (1913).
Clarity of Expression and Proper Emphasis—By earnest prayer and diligent effort we are to obtain a fitness for speaking. This fitness includes uttering every syllable clearly, placing the force and emphasis where it belongs. Speak slowly. Many speak rapidly, hurrying (p.581) one word after another so fast that the effect of what they say is lost. Into what you say put the spirit and life of Christ.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 254, 255 (1913).
Speak With Melody and One Sentence at a Time—In my younger days I used to talk too loud. The Lord has shown me that I could not make the proper impression upon the people by getting the voice to an unnatural pitch. Then Christ was presented before me, and His manner of talking; and there was a sweet melody in His voice. His voice, in a slow, calm manner, reached those who listened; His words penetrated their hearts, and they were able to catch on to what He said before the next sentence was spoken. Some seem to think they must race right straight along or else they will lose the inspiration and the people will lose the inspiration. If that is inspiration, let them lose it, and the sooner the better.—MS 19b, 1890. (Evangelism, 670.)
Powers of Speech Under Control of Reason—Your influence is to be far-reaching, and your powers of speech should be under the control of reason. When you strain the organs of speech, the modulations of the voice are lost. The tendency to rapid speaking should be decidedly overcome. God claims of the human instrumentality all the service that man can give. All the talents entrusted to the human agent are to be cherished and appreciated and used as a precious endowment of heaven. The laborers in the harvest field are God’s appointed agents, channels through which He can communicate light from heaven.—SpT Series A, No. 7, p 10, Jan 6, 1897. (Evangelism, 668.)
Science of Reading of Highest Value—The science of reading correctly and with the proper emphasis is of highest value. No matter how much knowledge you may have acquired in other lines, if you have neglected to cultivate your voice and manner of speech so that you can speak and read distinctly and intelligently, all your (p.582) learning will be of but little profit; for without voice culture you cannot communicate readily and clearly that which you have learned.—MS 131, 1902. (Evangelism, 666.)
Things Real and Imaginary—On a certain occasion, when Betterton, a celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, [then] archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop said to him, “Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary.”
“My lord,” replied Betterton, “with due submission to Your Grace, permit me to say that the reason is plain: it all lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real; and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 255 (July 6, 1902).
Living and Talking Above Our Environment—Although there is iniquity all around us, we should not approach it. Do not talk of the iniquity and wickedness that are in the world but elevate your minds and talk of your Saviour. When you see iniquity all around you, it makes you all the more glad that He is your Saviour and we are His children.—MS 7, 1888.
Learn the Eloquence of Silence—When one once gives place to an angry spirit, he is just as much intoxicated as the man who has put the glass to his lips. Learn the eloquence of silence and know that God respects the purchase of the blood of Christ. Educate yourselves; we must learn every day. We must come up higher and higher and closer to God. Clear the rubbish away from the King’s highway. Make a way that the King may walk in our midst. Put away filthy communications out of your mouth (see Colossians 3:8).—MS 6, 1893.
A Holy Restraint—Without faith it is impossible to please God. We can have the salvation of God in our (p.583) families, but we must believe for it, live for it, and have a continual, abiding faith and trust in God. We must subdue a hasty temper and control our words, and in this we shall gain great victories.
Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness.
The restraint which God’s Word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families and of all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind and, in the end, everlasting life. Under this holy restraint we shall increase in grace and humility, and it will become easy to speak right. The natural, passionate temper will be held in subjection. An indwelling Saviour will strengthen us every hour. Ministering angels will linger in our dwellings and with joy carry heavenward the tidings of our advance in the divine life, and the recording angel will make a cheerful, happy record.—Testimonies for the Church 1:310 (1862).