Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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The right culture and use of the power of speech has to
do with every line of Christian work; it enters into the
home life, and into all our intercourse with one another.
We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to
use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and
courteous. Sweet, kind words are as dew and gentle
showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ that
grace was poured into His lips that He might "know how
to speak a word in season to him that is weary." Ps. 45:2;
Isa. 50:4. And the Lord bids us, "Let your speech be
alway with grace" (Col. 4:6) "that it may minister grace
unto the hearers" (Eph. 4:29). [p. 337]
In seeking to correct or reform others we should be
careful of our words. They will be a savor of life unto life
or of death unto death. In giving reproof or counsel,
many indulge in sharp, severe speech, words not adapted
to heal the wounded soul. By these ill-advised expressions
the spirit is chafed, and often the erring ones are stirred to
rebellion. All who would advocate the principles of truth
need to receive the heavenly oil of love. Under all
circumstances reproof should be spoken in love. Then our words
will reform but not exasperate. Christ by His Holy Spirit
will supply the force and the power. This is His work.
Not one word is to be spoken unadvisedly. No evil
speaking, no frivolous talk, no fretful repining or impure
suggestion, will escape the lips of him who is following
Christ. The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit,
says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your
mouth." Eph. 4:29. A corrupt communication does not
mean only words that are vile. It means any expression
contrary to holy principles and pure and undefiled religion.
It includes impure hints and covert insinuations of evil.
Unless instantly resisted, these lead to great sin.
Upon every family, upon every individual Christian, is
laid the duty of barring the way against corrupt speech.
When in the company of those who indulge in foolish talk,
it is our duty to change the subject of conversation if
possible. By the help of the grace of God we should quietly
drop words or introduce a subject that will turn the
conversation into a profitable channel.
It is the work of parents to train their children to proper
habits of speech. The very best school for this culture is
the home life. From the earliest years the children should
be taught to speak respectfully and lovingly to their parents
and to one another. They should be taught that only words [p. 338] of gentleness, truth, and purity must pass their lips. Let the
parents themselves be daily learners in the school of Christ.
Then by precept and example they can teach their children
the use of "sound speech, that cannot be condemned."
Titus 2:8. This is one of the greatest and most responsible
of their duties.
As followers of Christ we should make our words such
as to be a help and an encouragement to one another in the
Christian life. Far more than we do, we need to speak of
the precious chapters in our experience. We should speak
of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless
depths of the Saviour's love. Our words should be words
of praise and thanksgiving. If the mind and heart are full
of the love of God, this will be revealed in the conversation.
It will not be a difficult matter to impart that which enters
into our spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations,
clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for
piety and holiness, will bear fruit in words that reveal the
character of the heart treasure. When Christ is thus
revealed in our speech, it will have power in winning souls
We should speak of Christ to those who know Him not.
We should do as Christ did. Wherever He was, in the
synagogue, by the wayside, in the boat thrust out a little
from the land, at the Pharisee's feast or the table of the
publican, He spoke to men of the things pertaining to the
higher life. The things of nature, the events of daily life,
were bound up by Him with the words of truth. The
hearts of His hearers were drawn to Him; for He had
healed their sick, had comforted their sorrowing ones,
and had taken their children in His arms and blessed them.
When He opened His lips to speak, their attention was
riveted upon Him, and every word was to some soul a
savor of life unto life. [p. 339]
So it should be with us. Wherever we are, we should
watch for opportunities of speaking to others of the
Saviour. If we follow Christ's example in doing good, hearts
will open to us as they did to Him. Not abruptly, but with
tact born of divine love, we can tell them of Him who is
the "Chiefest among ten thousand" and the One "altogether
lovely." Cant. 5:10, 16. This is the very highest work in
which we can employ the talent of speech. It was given
to us that we might present Christ as the sin-pardoning
The life of Christ was an ever-widening, shoreless
influence, an influence that bound Him to God and to the
whole human family. Through Christ, God has invested
man with an influence that makes it impossible for him to
live to himself. Individually we are connected with our
fellow men, a part of God's great whole, and we stand
under mutual obligations. No man can be independent of
his fellow men; for the well-being of each affects others.
It is God's purpose that each shall feel himself necessary to
others' welfare, and seek to promote their happiness.
Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of it own—
an atmosphere, it may be, charged with the life-giving
power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the
fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom
of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly
taint of cherished sin. By the atmosphere surrounding
us, every person with whom we come in contact is
consciously or unconsciously affected.
This is a responsibility from which we cannot free
ourselves. Our words, our acts, our dress, our deportment,
even the expression of the countenance, has an influence. [p. 340] Upon the impression thus made there hang results for good
or evil which no man can measure. Every impulse thus
imparted is seed sown which will produce its harvest. It
is a link in the long chain of human events, extending
we know not whither. If by our example we aid others in
the development of good principles, we give them power
to do good. In their turn they exert the same influence
upon others, and they upon still others. Thus by our
unconscious influence thousands may be blessed.
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