Abstract: "The spirit that is kept gentle under provocation will speak more effectively in favor of truth than will any argument, however forcible."
“The disciples’ message was the same as that of John the Baptist and of Christ Himself; ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ They were to enter into no controversy with the people as to whether Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah; but in His name they were to do the same works of mercy as He had done. He bade them, ‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.' ....
The followers of Christ are to labor as He did. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afï¬icted. We are to minister to the despairing, and inspire hope in the hopeless. And to us also the promise will be fulï¬lled, ‘Thy righteousness shall go before the; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.’ Isa. 58:8. The love of Christ, manifested in unselï¬sh ministry, will be more effective in reforming the evildoer than will the sword or the court of justice. These are necessary to strike terror to the lawbreaker, but the loving missionary can do more than this. Often the heart will harden under reproof; but it will melt under the love of Christ….
Christ himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, that refused to receive Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. Every soul was precious n His eyes. While He always bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save….
The servants of Christ are not to act out the dictates of the natural heart. They need to have close communion with God, lest, under provocation, self rise up, and they pour forth a torrent of words that are unbeï¬tting, that are not as dew or the still showers that refresh the withering plants. This is what Satan wants them to do; for these are his methods. It is the dragon that is wroth; it is the spirit of Satan that is revealed in anger and accusing. But God’s servants are to be representatives of Him. He desires them to deal only in the currency of heaven, the truth that bears His image and superscription. The power by which they are to overcome evil is the power of Christ. The glory of Christ is their strength. They are to ï¬x their eyes upon His loveliness. Then they can present the gospel with divine tact and gentleness. And the spirit that is kept gentle under provocation will speak more effectively in favor of truth than will any argument, however forcible.” Desire of Ages, pp. 350-352