(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, andcoming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, forthis is the Law and the Prophets.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Give the erring one no occasion for discouragement. Suffer not a Pharisaical hardness to come in and hurt your brother. Let no bitter sneer rise in mind or heart. Let no tinge of scorn be manifest in the voice. If you speak a word of your own, if you take an attitude of indifference, or show suspicion or distrust, it may prove the ruin of a soul. He needs a brother with the Elder Brother’s heart of sympathy to touch his heart of humanity. Let him feel the strong clasp of a sympathizing hand, and hear the whisper, Let us pray. God will give a rich experience to you both. Prayer unites us with one another and with God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives to the fainting, perplexed soul new strength to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Prayer turns aside the attacks of Satan.
When one turns away from human imperfections to behold Jesus, a divine transformation takes place in the character. The Spirit of Christ working upon the heart conforms it to His image. Then let it be your effort to lift up Jesus. Let the mind’s eye be directed to “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. And as you engage in this work, remember that “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15. Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God’s pardoning grace. In God’s forgiveness the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of Infinite Love. The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner’s soul, and from him to the souls of others. The tenderness and mercy that Christ has revealed in His own precious life will be seen in those who become sharers of His grace. But “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. He is alienated from God, fitted only for eternal separation from Him.
It is true that he may once have received forgiveness; but his unmerciful spirit shows that he now rejects God’s pardoning love. He has separated himself from God, and is in the same condition as before he was forgiven. He has denied his repentance, and his sins are upon him as if he had not repented.
But the great lesson of the parable lies in the contrast between God’s compassion and man’s hardheartedness; in the fact that God’s forgiving mercy is to be the measure of our own. “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”
We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:2.
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Notwithstanding the boasted advancement that has been made in educational methods, the training of children at the present day is sadly defective. It is the home training that is neglected. Parents, and especially mothers, do not realize their responsibility. They have neither the patience to instruct, nor the wisdom to control, the little ones intrusted to their keeping.
It is too true that mothers are not standing at their post of duty, faithful to their motherhood. They are generally the willing servants of worldliness and fashion. Many, even among those who profess to have renounced the world, are influenced to a great degree by its customs and its spirit. Many times the mother neglects her precious charge, and looks to the teacher of the Sabbath and the day school to make up her deficiency. But she has no right thus to shift her responsibility upon others, and leave them to do her work. God does not call her to engage in any enterprise to advance his cause or to benefit mankind that will lead her to neglect the physical, mental, and moral training of her own children; and what shall we say of her course when she neglects her sacred duties from worldly and selfish motives?
The opinions and maxims of the world should not govern the mother, nor should she labor to reach the world’s standard. She should decide for herself what is the great end and aim of life, and then bend all her efforts to attain that end. She may, for want of time, neglect many things about her house, with no serious results; but she cannot with impunity neglect the proper discipline of her children. Their defective characters will publish her unfaithfulness. The evils which she permits to pass uncorrected,—the coarse, rough manners, the disrespect and disobedience, the habits of idleness and inattention,—will reflect dishonor upon her, and will imbitter her life. Mothers, to a great degree the destiny of your children rests in your hands. If you fail in duty, you may place them in the ranks of the enemy, and make them his agents to ruin souls; but by a godly example and faithful discipline you may lead them to Christ, and make them the instruments in his hands of saving many souls.
Wherever I go, I am pained by the lack of proper home discipline and restraint. Little children are allowed to answer back, to manifest disrespect and impertinence. Parents who permit this are more worthy of blame than their children. Impertinence should not be tolerated in a child even once. But fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts and grandparents, laugh at the exhibition of passion in the little creature a year old. Its imperfect utterances of disrespect, its childish willfulness, are thought pretty and cunning. Thus wrong habits are confirmed, and the child grows up an object of dislike to all around him.
One great reason why so many children are forward, bold, and impertinent is, that they are noticed and praised too much, and their smart, sharp sayings are repeated in their hearing. Do not put them on exhibition before visitors as prodigies of wit or wisdom, but leave them, as far as possible, to the simplicity of their childhood. Endeavor not to censure unduly, nor to overwhelm with praise and flattery.
Parents, you should begin early to teach your children respect, obedience, and self-control. Remember that every exhibition of passion that is not firmly and decidedly checked is a lesson of evil. Your neglect of proper restraint opens the door to Satan, and invites him to come in and control your children; and he will not be slow to improve his opportunity.
Children require patient, faithful care. It is not enough that they are fed and clothed; their mental powers must be developed, and their hearts imbued with right principles. They need constant care; but you need not let them see that you are ever guarding them. Learn the disposition of your children as revealed in their association with one another, and then seek to correct their faults by encouraging opposite traits. Children should be taught that the development of both the physical and the mental powers rests with themselves, and is the result of effort. They should early learn that happiness is not found in selfish gratification, but follows only in the wake of duty.
I have heard mothers say that they had not the ability to govern which others have; that it is a peculiar talent which they do not possess. Those who realize their deficiency in this respect should make the subject of family government their most diligent study. And yet the most valuable suggestions of others should not be adopted without thought and discrimination. They may not be equally adapted to the circumstances of every mother, or to the peculiar disposition and temperament of each child in the family. Let the mother study with care the experience of others, note the difference between their methods and her own, and carefully test those that appear to be of real value. If one mode of discipline does not produce the desired results, let another plan be tried, and the effects carefully noted.
Mothers, above all others, should accustom themselves to thought and investigation. If they will persevere in this course, they will find that they are acquiring the faculty in which they thought themselves deficient; that they are learning to form aright the characters of their children. The result of the labor and thought given to this work will be seen in their obedience, their simplicity, their modesty and purity; and it will richly repay all the effort made.
A want of steadiness in family government is productive of great harm; in fact, it is nearly as bad as no government at all. The question is often asked, Why are the children of religious parents so often headstrong, defiant, and rebellious? The reason is to be found in the home training. The children have not had a good example, faithful instruction, and proper restraint. Too often the parents are not united in their family government. The father, who is with his children but little, and is ignorant of their peculiarities of disposition and temperament, is harsh and severe. He does not control his temper, but corrects in passion. The child knows this, and instead of being subdued, the punishment fills him with anger. The mother allows misdemeanors to pass at one time for which she will severely punish at another. The children never know just what to expect, and are tempted to see how far they can transgress with impunity. Thus are sown seeds of evil that spring up and bear fruit.
Firmness and decision are necessary. I have known parents to say, You cannot have this or that, and then relent, thinking they may be too strict, and give the child the very thing they at first refused. A life-long injury is thus inflicted. It is an important law of the mind—one which should not be overlooked—that when a desired object is so firmly denied as to remove all hope, the mind will soon cease to long for it, and will become occupied in other pursuits; but so long as there is any hope of gaining it, a persistent effort will be made for its attainment.
When it is necessary for parents to give a direct command, the penalty for disobedience should be as unvarying as are the laws of nature. Children who are under this firm, decisive rule, know that when a thing is forbidden or denied, no teasing or artifice will secure their object; hence they soon learn to submit, and are much happier in so doing. The children of undecided and overindulgent parents have a constant hope that they may gain their end by coaxing, crying, or sullenness, or that they may venture to disobey without suffering the penalty. Thus they are kept in a state of suspense, which makes them restless, irritable, and insubordinate. God holds such parents guilty of wrecking the happiness of their children. This wicked mismanagement is the key to the impenitence and irreligion of thousands. It has proved the ruin of many who have professed the Christian name. In many cases the restless, rebellious spirit, unsubdued in youth, creates disturbance in the church. Many church trials may be traced to defective family government. Intemperance and crime of every degree are often the fruits of seed sown by parents.
Let none imagine, however, that harshness and severity are necessary to secure obedience. I have seen the most efficient family government maintained without a harsh word or look. I have been in other families where commands were constantly given in an authoritative tone, and harsh rebukes and severe punishments were often administered. In the first case the children followed the course pursued by the parents, and seldom spoke to one another in harsh tones. In the second also the parental example was imitated by the children; and cross words, fault-findings, and disputes were heard from morning till night.
Fathers and mothers, you are teachers; your children are the pupils. Your tones of voice, your deportment, your spirit, are copied by your little ones. You should be united in their government. Study their dispositions with care, and together seek wisdom and strength from God to deal with them aright. If you attempt to govern without exercising self-control, without system, thought, and prayer, you will most assuredly reap the bitter consequences. But when you have faithfully done your duty, you may then ask the Lord to do for your children that which you cannot do. And having trained them in the way they should go, you will find that when old they will not depart from it.
If we are doers of the Word, we shall daily bear the cross after Jesus, subdue self, and thus bring harmony into the home life. The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Spirit of the Lord presides. If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other, and cultivate love and confidence. Anything that would mar the peace and unity of the family should be firmly repressed, and kindness and love should be cherished. He who manifests the spirit of tenderness, forbearance, and love, will find that the same spirit will be reflected upon him. Where the Spirit of God reigns, there will be no talk of unsuitability in the marriage relation. If Christ indeed is formed within, the hope of glory, there will be union and love in the home. Christ abiding in the heart of the wife, will be at agreement with Christ abiding in the heart of the husband. They will be striving together for the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him.
Those who are constantly at disagreement in the home life, 'who do not practise the words of the Lord, will not enter into the heavenly mansions, because they would find that which did not suit their taste even in heaven. Heaven is to be the home of those only who are sanctified, refined, and made meet for the society of the saints in light. If we manifest the character of Christ here, keeping all the .commandments of God, we shall be cheered and blessed with glimpses of the pleasant home in the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare. Those who, through the grace given us, represent, not their own crude ideas, their own peculiar hereditary and cultivated objectionable traits of character, but the character of Christ, will be fit inhabitants for the heavenly city. Our ways, our will, are to be under subjection to God's will, to be disciplined by His Holy Spirit. If we are courteous and gentle at home, we shall carry the savor of a pleasant disposition when away from home. If we manifest forbearance, patience, meekness, and fortitude in the home, we shall be able to be a light to the world. All murmuring, all complaining, will be put aside by the true Christian.
We are children of the heavenly King, members of the royal family, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. The mansions Jesus has gone to prepare are to receive only those who are true, who are pure, who love and obey His words. In the mansions above we shall meet to part no more. We shall know each other in our heavenly home.
But if we would enjoy eternal bliss, we must cultivate religion in the home; for the home is to be the center of the purest and most elevated affection. Peace, harmony, affection, and happiness should be perseveringly cherished every day, until these precious things abide in the hearts of those who compose the family. The plant of love must be carefully nourished, else it will die. Every good principle must be cherished if we would have it thrive in the soul. That which Satan plants in the heart,— envy, jealousy, evil surmising, evil speaking, impatience, prejudice, selfishness, covetousness, and vanity,— must be uprooted. If these evil things are allowed to remain in the soul, they will bear fruit by which many shall be deified. O, how many cultivate the poisonous plants, that kill out the precious fruits of love, and defile the soul! Some of these who cherish evil, think they have a burden for souls. They make public profession of their love to God, and yet see no necessity for seeding the garden of the heart, for uprooting ever3, unsightly, unholy weed, for letting the beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine into the soul temple. They do not know Jesus. They have no knowledge of what it is to be a practical Christian, that is, to be Christlike.
There is need of prayer, of genuine faith, of patient, untiring effort to war against every evil disposition, so that even our thoughts may be brought into subjection to Christ. That which will make the character lovely in the home, is that which will make it lovely in the heavenly mansions. The measure of your Christianity is gaged by the character of your home life. The grace of Christ enables its possessors to make the home a happy place, full of peace and rest. Unless you have the Spirit of Christ, you are none of His, and will never see the redeemed saints in His kingdom, who are to be one with Him in the heaven of bliss. God desires you to consecrate yourself wholly to Him, and represent His character in the home circle.
When religion is manifested in the home, its influence will be felt in the church and in the neighborhood. But some who profess to be Christians, talk with their neighbors concerning their home difficulties. They relate their grievances in such a way as to call forth sympathy for themselves ; but it is a great mistake to pour our trouble into the ears of others, especially when many of our grievances are manufactured, and exist because of our irreligious life and defective character. Those who go forth to lay their private grievances before others, might better remain at home to pray, to surrender their perverse will to God, to fall on the Rock and be broken, to die to self, that Jesus may make them vessels unto honor. When self is crucified, and Christ lives in' the soul, they will cherish sincere and noble affections, such as will give fragrance to the character, and be revealed to the world in consistent words and actions. Let us all heed the words of the Lord,—" Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance : but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
In many families there is a great lack in expressing affection one for another. While there is no need of sentimentalism, there is need of expressing love and tenderness in a chaste, pure, dignified way. Many absolutely cultivate hardness of heart, and in word and action reveal the satanic side of the character. Tender affection should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Every hasty word should be checked, and there should not be even the appearance of the lack of love one for another. It is the duty of every one in the family to be pleasant, to speak kindll. Children are to respect and reverence their parents, and parents are to manifest patience, kindness, and affection for their children. Each one should seek in every possible way to please and make happy the members of the family circle.
Our words and actions in the home bear testimony to our true character, and they are recorded in the books of heaven. The daily acts of life tell the measure and mold of our disposition and character. Where there is a lack of home religion, a profession of faith is valueless. Then let no unkind words fall from the lips of those who compose the home circle. Make the atmosphere fragrant with tender thoughtfulness of others. Only those will enter heaven who in probationary time have formed a character that breathes a heavenly influence. The saint in heaven must first be a saint upon earth. The habits of speech, the character of our actions, put a mold upon us ; and that which we cultivate in our associations with others in this life, goes down into the grave with us, and will be unchanged when we come up from the grave. Many are deceiving themselves by thinking that character will be transformed at the coming of Christ ; but there will be no conversion of heart at His appearing. Our defects of character must here be repented of, and through the grace of Christ we must overcome them while probation shall last. This is the place for fitting up for the family above.
Then, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, do not educate yourselves in the line of vulgarity of action, word, or thought. Coarse sayings, low jests, lack of politeness and true courtesy in the home life, will become as second nature to you, and will unfit you for the society of those who are becoming sanctified through the truth. The home is too sacred a place to be polluted by vulgarity, sensuality, recrimination, and scandal. Silence the evil word, put away the unholy thought; for the True Witness weighs every word, sets a value on every action, and declares, "I know thy works." Then let love, truth, kindness, and forbearance be the precious plants that you shall cultivate in the garden of the heart. " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing : for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.