The Perfect Man

Christians speak much of the Golden Rule–“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12)–but there is a question as to how many really comply with its requirements in the fullest sense. Are the demands of this Christian rule to be met only in kind deeds, honest business transactions, and missionary activities? {5SC1-5: 10.1.4}

The purpose herein is to show clearly the way in which the Golden Rule is most often violated, and which most Christians perhaps do not fully comprehend in respect to the extent that it affects their own lives, the lives of their relatives, friends, associates, and church brethren. Above all, though, the aim herein is to show forth the injury which Christians are daily causing the work of God, either by their blindness to God’s ways or by their failure to carry out the principle contained in the Golden Rule, by giving unbridled reign to the most unruly member of the body; namely, the tongue. {5SC1-5: 10.1.5}

We hear much about the pestilential habit of “Gossip,” which sickens us to the depths, for we as a people hear instruction without stint on the subject, but we obey it not. However, though it is not as sweet music to our ears, we must realize that the problem must be met and dealt with. We must be overcomers, with no guile in our mouths, if we are to be among those who “escape” and who are sent to “the nations” to proclaim God’s “fame” and His “glory” “among the Gentiles” (Isa. 65:19, 20), and who have a part in the giving of the message in the time of the Loud Cry. {5SC1-5: 10.2.3}

“Gossip’ is just plain conversing with another to tell idle tales, to tattle, or just to chat about others. {5SC1-5: 10.2.4}

Information which is unnecessary, or which is unnecessarily given, thou it be only absolute fact, is another phase of conversation as equally damaging as gossip. {5SC1-5: 10.2.5}

To love our neighbor as we do ourselves, we must remember the Golden Rule by guarding our lips, for a word once spoken, though it may be retracted, can never be recalled, albeit we may apologize and shed many tears in sorrow. {5SC1-5: 11.1.1}

We may unwittingly drop here or there a word of information that to us at the time would mean nothing at all, but which sooner or later may stare us in the face in a most unpleasant setting and cause us untold distress, worry, and shame. {5SC1-5: 11.1.2}

Let us for a moment closely observe a person who is successful in his or her profession. Take a nurse, for an example, to illustrate our point. She is of necessity in many cases familiarized with certain circumstances, or conditions which perhaps surround her patient. How unbecoming and how damaging to her profession should she tell even to her closest friend, matters which should be held strictly confidential to herself, not to mention to make common talk or gossip of them, or even to pass on the information! No good business person tells his private affairs. Much less others who are not concerned could “spread the tidings” and yet profess to keep the “Golden Rule”.{5SC1-5: 11.1.3}

Information must be given at times, but to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” it is necessary not only that we learn what is idle talk–gossip–but also that we learn why certain information should be given, by whom it should be given, and, especially, when it should be given. {5SC1-5: 11.1.4}

Even the habit of expressing our opinion on matters which do not especially concern us, is a deep-seated cause of many evils and unpleasant consequences. {5SC1-5: 11.1.5}

When we wish to discuss a subject, or when we venture to question others, we must guard our tongue by always bearing in mind that it must be subject to the law which the apostle Paul enjoins upon us in the following concerns. Let each one of us, before discussing any subject, ask: {5SC1-5: 11.1.6}

Is it “true,” or is it merely hearsay–“I have heard”?{5SC1-5: 11.1.7}

Is it “honest” (margin, venerable–to be reverenced), or is it foolish jesting; and does it concern us and our work? {5SC1-5: 11.1.8}

Is it “just”–as we would have others do to us? Does it show that we care about our brother’s feelings? {5SC1-5: 11.1.9}

Is it “pure,” so that no condemnation shall stand against us? {5SC1-5: 11.1.10}

Is it “lovely”? Would it cause us to have greater love for our brother regardless of his mistakes? {5SC1-5: 11.1.11}

Is it “of good report,” that we might thereby learn something for our experience or advance ment along life’s highway? {5SC1-5: 11.1.12}

If these concerns are to be considered when asking questions of others, then it would be well for us especially to consider them when narrating to others, for the text further enjoins us to think on these things “if there be any virtue and if there be any praise.” {5SC1-5: 11.2.1}

We should be like Paul, and “press toward the mark or the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [144,000], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.’ (Phil. 3:14, 15.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.2}

God is striving now to do something for us, but He cannot until we submit our tongues to Him. The longer we put off making this surrender, the more we hinder His intentions for us as His people. And what we do not do in times of peace, we will have to do in times of trouble. {5SC1-5: 11.2.3}

“He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” (I Pet. 3:10.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.4}

Let us be careful in our speech, so that we speak nothing which we ought not (I Tim. 5:13), “for in many things we offend all.” (Jas. 3:2.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.5}

Some may even think that they are doing good in God’s service by giving to others private information on things which concern God’s work and His workers only, whereas such presumption is indeed an offense “to all” and a great harm to God’s cause. Some do not understand the fulness of the warfare between Christ and Satan, neither are they conscious when they are criticizing, gossiping, or passing out important information about the work of God, yea, even more, causing others, to form against the institution, opinions which would prejudice them against it for eternity. {5SC1-5: 11.2.6}

“If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (Jas. 3:2.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.7}

Until we can learn when to speak and when to keep silent, regardless who we are, we are still in our sins and unqualified for service in the Lord’s vineyard, for we would in such a case “betray our trust,” become “traitors, heady, and high-minded,” considering our own conceits wiser than that which “is written,” whereas our counsel, advice, criticism, discussion, and our reporting what we hear or see would be contrary to that which would be fitting to the 144,000, who are without guile in their mouth. (Rev. 14-5.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.8}

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matt. 5:37.) Those who do this are as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Strive to be one of the 144,000, who are without guile in their mouth. {5SC1-5: 11.2.9}

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.) {5SC1-5: 11.2.10}

 

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY

In speaking of a person’s faults,

Pray don’t forget your own;

Remember those with homes of glass,

Should seldom throw a stone;

If we have nothing else to do

But talk of those who sin,

‘Tis better we commence at home,

And from that point begin. {5SC1-5: 12.1.1}

 

We have no right to judge a man

Until he’s fairly tried;

Should we not like his company,

We know the world is wide.

Some may have faults–and who has not?

The old as well as young;

Perhaps we may, for aught we know,

Have fifty to their one. {5SC1-5: 12.1.2}

 

I’ll tell you of a better plan,

And find it works full well;

To try my own defects to cure,

Before of others tell;

And though I sometimes hope to be

No worse than some I know,

My own shortcomings bid me let

The faults of others go. {5SC1-5: 12.1.3}

 

Then let us all, when we commence

To slander friend or foe,

Think of the harm one word may do

To those we little know.

Remember curses sometimes like

Our chickens, “roost at home.”

Don’t speak of others’ faults until

We have none of our own.

–Joseph Kronthal. {5SC1-5: 12.1.4}

 

IT DOES NOT PAY TO ARGUE

Christians are called to be witnesses, not lawyers. Their lives are to testify to the whole universe that Christ Jesus came into the world to save, not to condemn. It is poor policy to argue about anything, but it is especially wrong to argue about religion. Let us witness instead. {5SC1-5: 12.1.5}

Most people are more or less prejudiced, because of preconceived ideas and opinions. There are many, however, who, if dealt with tactfully, will admit that they are wrong, but no one enjoys having the fact of his wrong forced down his throat by the other fellow. {5SC1-5: 12.1.6}

Benjamin Franklin tells how, while he was but a blundering youth, an old Quaker friend taught him a most valuable lesson. The Quaker friend said to him: {5SC1-5: 12.1.7}

“Ben, your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you. Your friends find they enjoy themselves better when you are not around. You know so much that no man can tell you anything. Indeed no man is going to try, for the effort would lead only to discomfort. So you are not likely to ever know any more than you do now, which is very little.” {5SC1-5: 12.1.8}

This stinging rebuke forced the young man to profit by it, as is evidenced by his testimony. {5SC1-5: 12.1.9}

Says Franklin:

“I even forbade myself the use of every expression that imported a fixed opinion, such as ‘certainly’, ‘undoubtedly’, etc., and I adopted, instead, ‘I conceive,’ a thing to be so; or ‘it so appears to me at present.’ When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there seemed to me some difference.” –“The Reader’s Digest,” Jan., 1937, pp. 118, 119. {5SC1-5: 12.2.1}

Present Truth believers would do well to consider the counsel of the old Quaker friend of Benjamin Franklin. The world, angels, and our brethren all have their eyes on us. Let us stop arguing. {5SC1-5: 12.2.2}

 

Leave a Comment