Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

About 1,950 years ago the apostle Paul counseled the members of the Church of his time to "cast not away, therefore, your confidence." And I believe this is the very need of our church today.

Some years ago I was called to be the pastor of the Portuguese Church in Canada. Some time before, a very peculiar situation developed between two of the elders who had lost confidence in each other. For a long time they had scarcely spoken to each other. They kept a tirade of criticism against one another. It war. a terrible thing. It split the church members. The attitude of the feuding brethren was reflected in the factions that developed in the congregation. Untold harm to the cause resulted. I was thankful for what the Spirit of God did for these two estranged members one morning.

One day, after a revival preaching on Sabbath, with tears streaming down their cheeks they put their arms around each other, and the old barriers fell like Berlin's Wall. What a blessed experience it brought to the whole church when confidence was restored. The English word confidence comes from a Latin infinitive, confidere, "to trust." Confidence is synonymous with trust and faith. If we trust a person's good offices, if we have faith in his sincerity, though we may not always agree with his views and the way he does things, we may still retain confidence in him.

Confidence does not make a person a rubber stamp. It does make him charitable. It creates trust and faith in the sincerity and the motives of the brethren.

Ellen C. White counsels the members of the church in these words: "The success of our work depends upon our love to God and our love to our fellow men. When there is harmonious action among the individual members of the church, when there is love and confidence manifested by brother to brother, there will be proportionate force and power in our work." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 188.

"Love and confidence manifested by brother to brother" will bring success and power in our work.

Because Satan is not happy with the success of God's cause he tries by all means to destroy the spirit of confidence among our leaders. He sets people among our members to start a work of destruction of reputation and confidence. "Satan knows that if he can set brother to watch brother in the church and in the ministry some will be as disheartened and discouraged as to leave their post of duty." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 189

How sad when men have their hearts broken and their spirit crushed by unkindness and lack of confidence to the extent that it drives them out of the work and sometimes out of the church. How much we need confidence among the brethren in our churches today.

We are living in times of tension and trouble. Suspicion torments the minds of the world leaders. Anything one side proposes it is certain the other side will oppose. Sinister intent is imputed by both sides. Stress and strain tests our world in many areas.

It is a nerve-racking and terrible thing when such lack of confidence exists among leaders of the world. How much more to be lamented it is when such feelings creep in among members in the cause of God. The Advent movement is an international movement. Likewise it brings together varied races and all types of personalities and dispositions from among the peoples represented. How important for us to ever bear in mind that regardless of what flag or race we represent we are first Adventists. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ there must be confidence among us.

Living as we do in the most crucial period of the history of the world and of the church, when strife, tensions, and suspicions of all sort are rampant and have been thrown away by all means of communications, by individuals from outside and inside of the church, somehow I believe God's message for each of us leaders is: "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence." We must not permit the mistrust or suspicion of the world about us to insinuate themselves into our congregation. There must be no mistrust, no probing or impugning of motives, no lack of faith among pastors and elders who bear the vessel of the Lord in such solemn time as those in which we live.

"Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in ... our brethren." Ibid., p. 500.

Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.