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Being Critical - Christian Resource Centre (Bermuda)
Ellen White Topics
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 criticise 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 dishonoured; the Spirit of God is grieved. 2MCP 636

Is Christ using cutting words, stern criticism and unkind suspicion toward His people who commit faults? No. He takes every infirmity into account; He acts with discernment. He knows every one of our failings; but He uses patience; for otherwise we would have perished long ago on account of our bad treatment of Him. The greatest insult we can inflict upon Him, is to pretend to be His disciples while manifesting the spirit of Satan in our words, our dispositions and our actions. It does not behove those from whom Jesus has so much to bear, in their failings and perversity, to be ever mindful of slights and real or imaginary offences. And yet there are those who are ever suspecting the motives of others about them. They see offence and slights where no such thing was intended. All this is Satan's work in the human heart. The heart filled with that love which thinketh no evil will not be on the watch to notice discourtesies and grievances of which he may be the object. The will of God is that His love shall close the eyes, the ears and the heart to all such provocations and to all the suggestions with which Satan would fill them. There is a noble majesty in the silence of the one exposed to evil-surmising or outrage. To be master of one's spirit is to be stronger than kings or conquerors. A Christian leads one to think of Christ. He will be affable, kind, patient, humble and yet courageous and firm in vindicating the truth and the name of Christ (MS 24, 1887). 3BC 1160

If Satan can excite criticism among any of the Lord's professed people, then it is communicated like leaven from one to another. Give the spirit of criticism no quarter, for it is Satan's science. Accept it, and envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings of one another follow. 3SM 351

No one should ever permit his mind to get into such a state that he will speak the words prompted by Satan. To accuse the brethren, to discourage them in their work, is to personify Satan and to be his helping hand by putting into the minds of others the evil leaven of criticism, as leaven is put into meal. This evil leaven, so thoughtlessly introduced, leavens the whole lump. The apostle Paul says: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord, looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." BTS JUN.1,1903 7

There is a real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticise others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible to make an unvarying rule to regulate every one's habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all. Not all can eat the same things. Foods that are palatable and wholesome to one person may be distasteful, and even harmful, to another. Some cannot use milk, while others thrive on it. Some persons cannot digest peas and beans; others find them wholesome. For some the coarser grain preparations are good food, while others cannot use them. CD 198

But never should it be forgotten that influence is no less a power for evil. To lose one's own soul is a terrible thing; but to cause the loss of other souls is still more terrible. That our influence should be a savour of death unto death is a fearful thought; yet this is possible. 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. Before they realise what they are doing, the adversary has through them accomplished his purpose. The impression of evil has been made, the shadow has been cast, the arrows of Satan have found their mark. Distrust, unbelief, and downright infidelity have fastened upon those who otherwise might have accepted Christ. Meanwhile the workers for Satan look complacently upon those whom they have driven to scepticism, and who are now hardened against reproof and entreaty. They flatter themselves that in comparison with these souls they are virtuous and righteous. They do not realise that these sad wrecks of character are the work of their own unbridled tongues and rebellious hearts. It is through their influence that these tempted ones have fallen. COL 340

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." Do not think yourself better than other men, and set yourself up as their judge. Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another. In criticising him, you are passing sentence upon yourself; for you show that you are a participant with Satan, the accuser of the brethren. The Lord says, "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." This is our work. "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."[1 2 COR. 13:5; 1 COR. 11:31.] DA 314

Closely connected with Christ's warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." But 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 criticise divine light. The habit of careless and irrelevant 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 criticise and reject the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of Judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." DA 323

Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind. There has ever been a class professing godliness, who, instead of following on to know the truth, make it their religion to seek some fault of character or error of faith in those with whom they do not agree. Such are Satan's right-hand helpers. Accusers of the brethren are not few, and they are always active when God is at work and His servants are rendering Him true homage. GC 519

Every institution will have to battle with difficulty. Trials are permitted in order to test the hearts of God's people. When adversity befalls one of the Lord's instrumentalities, it will be shown how much real faith we have in God and in His work. At such a time let none view matters in the worst light and give expression to doubt and unbelief. Do not criticise those who carry the burdens of responsibility. Let not the conversation in your homes be poisoned with criticism of the Lord's workers. Parents who indulge this criticising spirit are not bringing before their children that which will make them wise unto salvation. Their words tend to unsettle the faith and confidence not only on the children, but of those older in years. All have little enough of respect and reverence for sacred things. Satan will unite most zealously with the criticiser in fostering unbelief, envy, jealousy, and disrespect. Satan is always at work to imbue men with his spirit, to quench the love which should be sacredly cherished between brethren, to discourage confidence, to excite envy, evil surmisings, and the strife of tongues. Let us not be found acting as his co-workers. One heart open to his suggestions may sow many seeds of disaffection. Thus may be wrought a work whose results in the ruin of souls will never be fully manifest until the great day of final judgement. PM 115

Dissension, bickering, self-seeking, are not of God, but of Satan. In the last great day those who have sympathised with self, and by their words of suspicion have turned in the wrong direction the scale in which the soul of a human being was hanging, will see their mistake. When their influence was needed to turn the balance for the right, they stood under Satan's banner, and did his work, sowing seeds of disunion and criticism; and the blood of souls will be charged to them. They will be held accountable for what they might have done had they been instant in season and out of season in the work of Christ. The wrong impression made upon human minds may live long after those who made it are dead. RH APR.27,1897

O let us encourage our souls to look to Jesus! Tell every one how dangerous it is to neglect his own soul's eternal healthfulness by looking upon the diseased souls of others, by talking upon the uncomeliness of character found in those who profess the name of Christ. The soul does not become more and more like Christ by beholding evil, but like the evil which it beholds. The same love of self, the same indulgence of self, the same hastiness of spirit, the same petulance of temper, the same sensitiveness and pride of opinion, the same unwillingness to receive counsel, the same unsanctified, independent judgement, will be manifest in those who criticise as in those whom they criticise. They will act as if they had not Christ as their pattern and example. O, how much we need to guard against Satan's devices! RH AUG.15,1893

There is great need for close watchfulness and most earnest prayer, lest we make a mistake and grieve the Holy Spirit of God by questioning and criticism, and so lose the force of the precious message. It is the truth we need in the heart to sanctify the soul. Satan plants his seeds of unbelief, of picking flaws, and of finding fault, when you should be diligently listening to the message which God is addressing to every one of you. He wants you to hear and obey, and so escape the snares which Satan has set for your feet. By cherishing doubts in thoughts, and expressing criticism, you can start a train of thought which will make the truth of God of none effect in the minds of those who have a constant struggle to cherish humility and faith, and they will give your words place in their heart, and thus lose the benefit of the message God has sent them. Anything like pride and wisdom of learning or science that you place between your soul and the words of truth spoken to you, will effectually close the door to the humble religion of Jesus Christ. The truth is a sanctifier of the life and character. RH JUL.19,1887

Satan will work to bring in criticism and misstatements, and to lead men to want their own way. There is no safety for any one who retains his selfish habits. God calls upon every soul to take up the work of self-examination. If all will now take up the work God has given them, and be converted in the doing of that work they will grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Satan will make every effort to create disunion, and unless the love of Christ fills the heart there will be divisions. But divisions always dishonour God, and a great deal of time is spent in an effort to set things right, when it ought not to be necessary to spend a moment in this way. God has a great work for His people to do. He will enable us to do this work if we will give ourselves into His keeping, and be led and guided by Him. SPTB05 34

We [Satan and his angels] must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticise, to judge, and to accuse and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these sins, God banished us from His presence; and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate. TM 475

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