[Editor’s Note: Steps to Life Ministries,
just as every Christian ministry and church, occasionally struggles through a
crisis. More often than not, a
contributing factor, and perhaps the major component of such crises, has to do
with speech. Believing this to be a
spiritual problem, we have chosen to seek counsel from the Bible and from the
Pen of Inspiration. This article
continues with a collection of counsel compiled to help heal wounds and bring
harmony and unity.]
sin unconfessed and unrepented
of, will close for you the gates of the city of God.” Manuscript
Releases, vol. 12, 40.
The Measure of Forgiveness
“If your brethren err, you are to forgive
them. When they come to you with
confession, you should not say, I do not think they are humble enough. I do not think they feel their
confession. What right
have you to judge them, as if you could read the heart? The word of God says, ‘If he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times
in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt
forgive him.’ Luke 17:3, 4. And not only seven times, but seventy times
seven—just as often as God forgives you.”
Christ’s Object Lessons, 249, 250.
No Compromise with Evil
“The gospel makes no compromise with
evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to
God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. The reproach of the disciple’s sin is cast
upon Christ. It causes Satan to triumph,
and wavering souls to stumble. By giving
proof of repentance, the disciple, so far as lies in his power, is to remove
this reproach.” The Desire of Ages,
Sincere Confession Essential
“Many, many confessions should never be
spoken in the hearing of mortals; for the result is that which the limited
judgment of finite beings does not anticipate. . . . God will be better glorified if we confess
the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its
recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart
is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God. . . . Do not pour into human ears the story which
God alone should hear. . . .
may be as mountains before you; but if you humble your heart, and confess your
sins, trusting in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour,
He will forgive, and will cleanse you from all unrighteous-ness.
. . . Desire the fullness of
the grace of Christ. Let your heart be
filled with an intense longing for His righteousness.” The Faith I Live By, 128.
Pentecostal Energy Needed
“The Lord calls for a renewal of the
straight testimony borne in years past.
He calls for a renewal of spiritual life. The spiritual energies of His people have
long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death. By prayer and confession of sin we must clear
the King’s highway. As we do this, the
power of the Spirit will come to us. We
need the pentecostal
energy. This will come; for the Lord has
promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power.” Gospel
Workers, 307, 308.
Search Heart for Lurking Sin
“In this great day of atonement our work is
that of heart-searching, of self-abasement, and confession of sin, each
humbling his own soul before God, and seeking pardon for himself
individually. Anciently every one that
did not on the day of atonement afflict his soul, was
cut off from the people. God would have
us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. If each will search and see what sins are
lurking in his own heart to shut out Jesus, he will find such a work to do that
he will be ready to esteem others better than himself. He will no longer seek to pluck the mote out
of his brother’s eye while a beam is in his own eye.” Historical
Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 213.
Destroy Root of Bitterness
“The prejudices and opinions that prevailed
at Minneapolis are not dead by any
means; the seeds sown there in some hearts are ready to spring into life and
bear a like harvest. The tops have been
cut down, but the roots have never been eradicated, and they still bear their
unholy fruit to poison the judgment, pervert the perceptions, and blind the
understanding of those with whom you connect, in regard to the message and the
messengers. When, by thorough confession,
you destroy the root of bitterness, you will see light in God’s light. Without this thorough work you will never
clear your souls. You need to study the
word of God with a purpose, not to confirm your own ideas, but to bring them to
be trimmed, to be condemned or approved, as they are or are not in harmony with
the word of God. The Bible should be
your constant companion. You should
study the Testimonies, not to pick out certain sentences to use as you see fit, to strengthen your assertions, while you disregard the
plainest statements given to correct your course
of action.” Life
Sketches of Ellen G. White, 326.
brother right by the hand, and ask him to forgive you. It will not hurt you to get down on your
knees, if necessary to do so. Get all
the roots of bitterness out of the way.
Have all these feelings blotted out by hearty confession one to
another. Do not be satisfied with a sort
of general confession. Come right to the
point. Let the blood of Jesus cancel
your wrongs in the Book of Life. You
want to be set free, that you may perfect holiness in the fear to God.” Review and Herald, August 14, 1888.
Confession of Sin
“The Scripture bids us, ‘Confess your faults
one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16. To the one
asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: ‘We cannot read the
heart, or know the secrets of your life.
These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty
to make confession of them.’ Sin of a
private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God
and man. For ‘if any man sin, we have an
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ 1 John 2:1. Every
sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through
Christ. Every open sin should be as
openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow
being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been
guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in
the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and
dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these
things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.” The Ministry of Healing, 228, 229.
Danger of Rebellion
“It is hardly possible for men to offer
greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities He would
use for their salvation. The Israelites
had not only done this, but had purposed to put both Moses and Aaron to
death. Yet they did not realize the
necessity of seeking pardon of God for their grievous sin. That night of probation was not passed in
repentance and confession, but in devising some way to resist the evidences
which showed them to be the greatest of sinners. They still cherished hatred of the men of
God’s appointment, and braced themselves to resist their authority. Satan was at hand to pervert their judgment
and lead them blindfold to destruction.”
that is cherished toward the servants of God by those who have yielded to the
power of Satan changes at times to a feeling of reconciliation and favor, but
the change does not always prove to be lasting.
After evil-minded men have engaged in doing and saying wicked things
against the Lord’s servants, the conviction that they have been in the wrong
sometimes takes deep hold upon their minds.
The Spirit of the Lord strives with them, and they humble their hearts
before God, and before those whose influence they have sought to destroy, and
they may change their course toward them.
But as they again open the door to the suggestions of the evil one, the
old doubts are revived, the old enmity is awakened, and they return to engage
in the same work which they repented of, and for a time abandoned. Again they speak evil, accusing and condemning
in the bitterest manner the very ones to whom they made most humble
confession. Satan can use such souls
with far greater power after such a course has been pursued than he could
before, because they have sinned against greater light.” Ibid., 662, 663.
Disposal of Sin
“Some men’s sins are open beforehand,
confessed in penitence, and forsaken, and they go beforehand to judgment. Pardon is written over against the names of
these men. But other men’s sins follow
after, and are not put away by repentance and confession, and these sins will
stand registered against them in the books of heaven.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 916.
“Confession of sin, whether public or
private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner.
. . .
confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular
sins. They may be of such a nature as to
be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to
individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public
character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to
the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” Steps to Christ, 38.
will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life;
everything offensive to God must be put away.”
in God’s word of genuine repentance and humiliation reveal a spirit of
confession in which there is no excuse for sin or attempt at
Erroneous Ideas of Confession
“There are confessions of a nature that
should be brought before a select few and acknowledged by the sinner in deepest
humility. The matter must not be
conducted in such a way that vice shall be construed into virtue and the sinner
made proud of his evil doings. If there
are things of a disgraceful nature that should come before the church, let them
be brought before a few proper persons selected to hear them, and do not put
the cause of Christ to open shame by publishing abroad the hypocrisy that has
existed in the church. It would cast
reflections upon those who had tried to be Christlike
in character. These things should be considered.
are confessions that the Lord has bidden us make to one another. If you have wronged your brother by word or
deed you are first to be reconciled to him before your worship will be
acceptable to heaven. Confess to those
whom you have injured, and make restitution, bringing forth fruit meet for
repentance. If anyone has feelings of
bitterness, wrath, or malice toward a brother, let him go to him personally,
confess his sin, and seek forgiveness.
White] recognize, on the other hand, the danger of yielding to the temptation
to conceal sin or to compromise with it, and thus act the hypocrite. Be sure that the confession fully covers the
influence of the wrong committed, that no duty to God, to your neighbor, or to
the church is left undone, and then you may lay hold upon Christ with
confidence, expecting His blessing. But
the question of how and to whom sins should be confessed is one that demands
careful, prayerful study. We must
consider it from all points, weighing it before God and seeking divine
illumination. We should inquire whether
to confess publicly the sins of which we have been guilty will do good or harm. Will it
show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of the darkness into His
marvelous light? Will it help to purify
the minds of the people, or will the open relation of the deceptions practiced
in denying the truth have an after influence to contaminate other minds and
destroy confidence in us?” Testimonies, vol.
5, 645, 646.
Unforgiving Receive no Mercy
“He who is unforgiving cuts off the very
channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who
have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our
forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt,
to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a
spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or
not they confess their faults. However
sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and
sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for
our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.
Set Things in Order
“God requires things to be set in
order. He calls for men of decided
fidelity. He has no use in an emergency
for two-sided men. He wants men who will
lay their hand upon a work, and say, This is not
according to the will of God. It is this
miserable thing in dealing with wrongs that God has condemned. The work that will meet the mind of the
Spirit of God has not yet begun in Battle Creek
[Michigan]. When the work of seeking God with all the
heart commences, there will be many confessions made that are now buried. I do not at present feel it my duty to
confess for those who ought to make, not a general, but a plain, definite
confession, and so cleanse the Lord’s institutions from the defilement that has
come upon them.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1899.
“It is not
yet too late to redeem the neglect of the past.
Let there be a renewal of the first love. Search out the ones you have driven away;
bind up by confession the wounds you have made.
Many have become discouraged in the struggle of life whom
one word of kindly cheer and courage would have strengthened to overcome. Come close to the great heart of pitying
love, and let the current of that divine compassion flow into your heart and
from you to the hearts of others. Never,
never become cold, heartless, unsympathetic. Never lose an opportunity to say a word that
will encourage hope. We can not tell how
far-reaching may be the influence of our words of kindness, our efforts to
lighten some burden.” Pacific Union
Recorder, April 10, 1902.
Be Reconciled to Thy Brother
“I [Ellen White] am instructed to say that
there are sins between man and his God that no other human being need know
anything about. If the one on whom such sins rest will make his peace with God, the Lord
will forgive him, and the burden will roll off his soul. He will then make confession to his
fellow-men, if he has wronged them, and as he confesses, God will be merciful,
and will forgive his sin.
confession is an evidence of the presence of the miracle-working power of God,
and it leads to other confessions, not general confessions, but confessions of
particular wrongs that have existed between brethren. God values above gold or silver the one who
makes such a confession. ‘I will make a
man more precious than fine gold,’ He says, ‘even a man than the golden wedge
[Isaiah 13:12.]” Ibid., December 1, 1904.
past night I [Ellen White] seemed to be standing before a large company of
believers. I was saying to them, Now, at
the very beginning of this meeting, is the time for you individually to search
your own hearts and discern your individual needs. Have you committed wrongs and concealed
them? If so, you have a work of
confession to do. You have not to
confess the sins of your neighbor or your brother, but you need to come to God
in repentance and confession of your own wrong-doing.” Ibid., May 6, 1909.
said he was laboring to find rest for his soul, but he does not feel free. He said that he had felt an antipathy to a
certain brother. He begged his brother
to give him his hand and forgive him for his feelings. This confession was well wet down with
tears.” Review and Herald, May 4, 1876.
“Now, as the
old year is passing away and the new year coming in,
is a good time for those who have cherished alienation and bitterness to make
confession to one another.” Ibid., December 26, 1882.
An Individual Work
“Are we by repentance and confession sending
our sins beforehand to Judgment, that they may be blotted out when the times of
refreshing shall come? This is an
individual work,—a work which we cannot safely delay. We should take hold of it earnestly; our
salvation depends upon our sincerity and zeal.
Let the cry be awakened in every heart, ‘What must I do to be
saved?’ ” Ibid., August 28, 1883.
“We each have
a work to do that no one can do for us.
The Lord would be pleased to see us humble our hearts before him,
confessing our sins, and righting every wrong that exists between us and our
brethren. There is danger that the
adversary will suggest that we need not humble our hearts before God; that we
need not make confession to our brethren of the wrongs we have done them in
speaking of their faults, magnifying their errors, putting wrong constructions
upon their words, and letting into our hearts enmity against them. Some have entertained such feelings. Alienation, prejudice, and jealousy have
ruled in hearts, and love for Jesus and for one another has been supplanted by
these weeds of Satan’s planting.
Brethren, shall we let the enemy triumph by allowing these wrongs to go
To be continued . . .
Pastor Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life
Ministry and pastor of the Prairie Meadows
Church in Wichita,
He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by
telephone at: 316-788-5559.