White: Calm under Fire

Our discussion of topics, especially in the Facebook group, can get heated. The following two quotes from Ellen White stands out to me in this regard, noting that Jesus’ strongest rebuke was saved for religious leaders. Yet even in his strong denunciation, notice Jesus’ methods.

First, the feast at Simon’s house when Mary washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and tears:

Simon was touched by the kindness of Jesus in not openly rebuking him before the guests. He had not been treated as he desired Mary to be treated. He saw that Jesus did not wish to expose his guilt to others, but sought by a true statement of the case to convince his mind, and by pitying kindness to subdue his heart. Stern denunciation would have hardened Simon against repentance, but patient admonition convinced him of his error. He saw the magnitude of the debt which he owed his Lord. His pride was humbled, he repented, and the proud Pharisee became a lowly, self-sacrificing disciple. (Desire of Ages, pp. 567-568)

Finally, Jesus’ woes against the Pharisees:

Christ’s indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession. (Desire of Ages, pp. 619-620)

Reflection Questions

  1. In my righteous indignation, do I maintain Jesus’ stance of calmness or do I have a “passion to revile those who revile me”?
  2. How can I grow in this way?
  3. Have I seen this modeled by anyone around me?
  4. What steps can I take to de-escalate communication that is ramping up?
  5. What is more important to me, “winning” an argument or “winning over” my conversation partner?
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