Mind, Character and Personality/Dealing with Emotions
We Cannot Read Motives—Remember that you cannot read hearts. You do not know the motives which prompted the actions that to you look wrong. There are many who have not received a right education; their characters are warped, they are hard and gnarled and seem to be crooked in every way. But the grace of Christ can transform them. Never cast them aside, never drive them to discouragement or despair by saying, “You have disappointed me, and I will not try to help you.” A few words spoken hastily under provocation—just what we think they deserve—may cut the cords of influence that should have bound their hearts to ours.
The consistent life, the patient forbearance, the spirit unruffled under provocation, is always the most conclusive argument and the most solemn appeal. If you have had opportunities and advantages that have not fallen to the lot of others, consider this and be ever a wise, careful, gentle teacher.
In order to have the wax take a clear, strong impression of the seal, you do not dash the seal upon it in a hasty, violent way; you carefully place the seal on the plastic wax and quietly, steadily press it down until it has hardened in the mold. In like manner deal with (p.756) human souls. The continuity of Christian influence is the secret of its power, and this depends on the steadfastness of your manifestation of the character of Christ. Help those who have erred, by telling them of your experiences. Show how—when you made grave mistakes—patience, kindness, and helpfulness on the part of your fellow workers gave you courage and hope.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 116, 117 (1900). (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 100, 101.)
Contending With a Force That Captivates Body, Soul, and Mind—An intensity such as never before was seen is taking possession of the world. In amusement, in moneymaking, in the contest for power, in the very struggle for existence, there is a terrible force that engrosses body and mind and soul. In the midst of this maddening rush, God is speaking. He bids us come apart and commune with Him. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).—Education, 260 (1903).
Healing of Spiritual Troubles—This world is a vast lazar house, but Christ came to heal the sick, to proclaim deliverance to the captives of Satan. He was in Himself health and strength. He imparted His life to the sick, the afflicted, those possessed of demons. He turned away none who came to receive His healing power. He knew that those who petitioned Him for help had brought disease upon themselves; yet He did not refuse to heal them. And when virtue from Christ entered into these poor souls, they were convicted of sin, and many were healed of their spiritual disease as well as of their physical maladies. The gospel still possesses the same power, and why should we not today witness the same results?—The Desire of Ages, 823 (1898).
Humans, the Hands of Angels—Human agencies are the hands of heavenly instrumentalities, for heavenly angels employ human hands in practical ministry. Human agencies as hand helpers are to work out the (p.757) knowledge and use the facilities of heavenly beings. By uniting with these powers that are omnipotent, we are benefited by their higher education and experience. Thus as we become partakers of the divine nature and separate selfishness from our lives, special talents for helping one another are granted us. This is Heaven’s way of administering saving power.—Testimonies for the Church 6:456, 457 (1900).
The Human Part and the Divine Part in Times of Conflict—Always the Lord gives the human agent his work. Here is the divine and the human cooperation. There is the man working in obedience to divine light given. If Saul had said, Lord, I am not at all inclined to follow Your specified directions to work out my own salvation, then should the Lord have let ten times the light shine upon Saul, it would have been useless.
It is man’s work to cooperate with the divine. And it is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way, relying upon the gracious influences which accompanied him all his life long. The man must do the work of inclining—“For it is God which worketh in you [us] both to will and to do” (Philippians 2:13). The character will determine the nature of the resolve and the action. The doing is not in accordance with the feeling or the inclination but with the known will of our Father which is in heaven. Follow and obey the leadings of the Holy Spirit.—Lt 135, 1898.
Talk of God’s Power—When someone asks how you are feeling, do not try to think of something mournful to tell in order to gain sympathy. Do not talk of your lack of faith and your sorrows and sufferings. The tempter delights to hear such words. When talking on gloomy subjects, you are glorifying him. We are not to dwell on the great power of Satan to overcome us. Often we give ourselves into his hands by talking of his power. (p.758)
Let us talk instead of the great power of God to bind up all our interests with His own. Tell of the matchless power of Christ and speak of His glory. All heaven is interested in our salvation. The angels of God, thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, are commissioned to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. They guard us against evil and press back the powers of darkness that are seeking our destruction. Have we not reason to be thankful every moment, thankful even when there are apparent difficulties in our pathway?—The Ministry of Healing, 253, 254 (1905).
Do Not Talk of Negative Feelings—If you do not feel lighthearted and joyous, do not talk of your feelings. Cast no shadow upon the lives of others. A cold, sunless religion never draws souls to Christ. It drives them away from Him into the nets that Satan has spread for the feet of the straying. Instead of thinking of your discouragements, think of the power you can claim in Christ’s name. Let your imagination take hold upon things unseen. Let your thoughts be directed to the evidences of the great love of God for you. Faith can endure trial, resist temptation, bear up under disappointment. Jesus lives as our Advocate. All is ours that His mediation secures.—The Ministry of Healing, 488 (1905).
Smiles and 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.
When Christians appear as gloomy and depressed as though they thought themselves friendless, they give a wrong impression of religion. In some cases the idea has been entertained that cheerfulness is inconsistent with the dignity of Christian character; but this all is a mistake. Heaven is all joy.—The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1885. (p.759)
Cheerfulness Brightens the Pathway—It is the duty of everyone to cultivate cheerfulness instead of brooding over sorrow and troubles. Many not only make themselves wretched in this way, but they sacrifice health and happiness to a morbid imagination. There are things in their surroundings that are not agreeable, and their countenances wear a continual frown that more plainly than words expresses discontent.
These depressing emotions are a great injury to them healthwise, for by hindering the process of digestion they interfere with nutrition. While grief and anxiety cannot remedy a single evil, they can do great harm; but cheerfulness and hope, while they brighten the pathway of others, “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”—The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1885. (My Life Today, 153.)
Mealtime and Emotions—Learn for yourselves what you should eat, what kinds of food best nourish the body, and then follow dictates of reason and conscience. At mealtime cast off care and taxing thought. Do not be hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, your heart filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings. And do not engage in brain labor immediately after a meal. Exercise moderately, and give a little time for the stomach to begin its work.—Gospel Workers, 241, 242 (1892). (Counsels on Health, 565.)
Cherishing Error Hinders Mental Expansion—The mind in which error has once taken possession can never expand freely to truth, even after investigation. The old theories will claim recognition. The understanding of things that are true and elevated and sanctifying will be confused. Superstitious ideas will enter the mind to mingle with the true, and these ideas are always debasing in their influence. Christian knowledge bears its own stamp of unmeasured superiority in all that concerns the preparation for the future, immortal life. It distinguishes the Bible reader and believer, who has been receiving the precious treasures (p.760) of truth, from the skeptic and the believer in pagan philosophy.
Cleave to the word, “It is written.” Cast out of the mind the dangerous, obtrusive theories which, if entertained, will hold the mind in bondage so that the man shall not become a new creature in Christ. The mind must be constantly restrained and guarded. It must be given as food that only which will strengthen the religious experience.—Manuscript 42, 1904. (Medical Ministry, 89).
Divine Power the Only Hope of Reform—Apart from divine power, no genuine reform can be effected. Human barriers against natural and cultivated tendencies are but as the sandbank against the torrent. Not until the life of Christ becomes a vitalizing power in our lives can we resist the temptations that assail us from within and from without.—The Ministry of Healing, 130 (1905).
The power of the heavenly agencies must combine with the human. This is the only way for us to be successful.—Lt 34, 1891.
Not to Dwell Upon Our Own Emotions—It is not wise to look to ourselves and study our emotions. If we do this, the enemy will present difficulties and temptations that weaken faith and destroy courage. Closely to study our emotions and give way to our feelings is to entertain doubt and entangle ourselves in perplexity. We are to look away from self to Jesus.—The Ministry of Healing, 249 (1905).
Negative Emotions Changed by God’s Spirit—When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the joy of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when (p.761) by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see, creates a new being in the image of God.—The Review and Herald, November 19, 1908. (My Life Today, 46.)
Great Wisdom Needed—Great wisdom is needed in dealing with diseases caused through the mind. A sore, sick heart, a discouraged mind, needs mild treatment.... It is through tender sympathy that this class of invalids can be benefited. The physician should first gain their confidence and then point them to the Great Healer. If their faith can be directed to the True Physician and they can have confidence that He has undertaken their case, this will bring relief to the mind and often give health to the body.—The Ministry of Healing, 244 (1905).
Christ’s Tenderness in Dealing With Minds—Christ identifies His interest with that of humanity. The work that bears the divine credentials is that which manifests the spirit of Jesus, which reveals His love, His carefulness, His tenderness in dealing with the minds of men. What revelations would come to man if the curtain should be rolled back and you could see the result of your work in dealing with the erring who have needed most judicious treatment lest they should be turned out of the way. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12, 13).—SpT Series A, No. 3, pp. 9, 10, Aug 3, 1894. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 184, 185.)
The Current of Life-giving Energy—The power of love was in all Christ’s healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, that current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people.—The Desire of Ages, 825 (1898). (p.762)
The One Source of Abiding Peace—Abiding peace, true rest of spirit, has but one source. It was of this that Christ spoke when He said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). This peace is not something that He gives apart from Himself. It is in Christ, and we can receive it only by receiving Him.—The Ministry of Healing, 247 (1905).
His Experience to Be Ours—In Christ the cry of humanity reached the Father of infinite pity. As a man He supplicated the throne of God till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that should connect humanity with divinity. Through continual communion He received life from God that He might impart life to the world. His experience is to be ours.—The Desire of Ages, 363 (1898).