The Holy Spirit will apply the word that is spoken in love to the soul. But let it be understood that no good is accomplished when the voice or the pen expresses that which is harsh, or even expresses the truth in a harsh manner. Let the region of human passion be passed by, lest the truth be misapprehended, misinterpreted, and misconstrued. The truth will have quickening power that is spoken under the full influence of the grace of Christ. God’s plan is first to reach the heart. Speak the truth and let Him carry forward the reformatory power and principle; but let us not work according to our own individual impulse.

What matter of good can be accomplished for souls who are in darkness by castigating them with denunciations? Those who have not a knowledge of the truth, who are blinded and warped in judgment, do not understand what it means. Speak the truth in love. Let the tenderness of Christ come in to the soul. Make no special reference to what opponents say, but let the truth alone be spoken--”It is written.” The truth will cut to the quick. Let not your own spirit and passions mingle with the truth as common fire with the sacred flame. Plainly unfold the Word in all its impressiveness.

Many who are now the bitterest opponents of truth are acting up to their honest convictions of duty, but they will yet see the truth, and become its warm advocates. Those who now treat them with ridicule, who manifest a harsh spirit toward them, will fall under temptation, and bring reproach upon the cause of God, and cause the loss of souls through their indiscretion. Many who go into the field at the call made at the eleventh hour, will through the grace of Christ so present the truth, that they will be accounted first.

We are not to voice inconsistency. It is our work to advance the light, to inculcate ideas in the spirit of meekness and dependence upon God. Let us seek to become overcomers, and thus receive the overcomers’ reward. Do all in your power to reflect light, to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, but abstain from speaking irritating and provoking words. Present the truth in its simplicity, for it must be confessed before man as it involves their eternal interest.


The combative armor, the debating spirit, must be laid off. If we would be Christlike we must reach men where they are.


We have the most solemn message of truth ever borne to the world. This truth is more and more respected by unbelievers because it cannot be controverted. In view of this fact, our young men become self-confident and self-inflated. They take the truths which have been brought out by other minds, and without study or earnest prayer meet opponents and engage in contests, indulging in sharp speeches and witticisms, flattering themselves that this is doing the work of a gospel minister. In order to be fitted for God’s work, these men need as thorough a conversion as Paul experienced. Ministers must be living representatives of the truth they preach. They must have greater spiritual life, characterized by greater simplicity.

Often, as you seek to present the truth, opposition will be aroused; but if you seek to meet the opposition with argument, you will only multiply it, and that you cannot afford to do. Hold to the affirmative.


Never should you enter a discussion where so much is at stake, relying upon your aptness to handle strong arguments. If it cannot be well avoided, enter the conflict, but enter upon it with firm trust in God and in the spirit of humility, in the spirit of Jesus, who has bidden you learn of Him, who is meek and lowly in heart. And then in order to glorify God and exemplify the character of Christ, you should never take unlawful advantage of your opponent. Lay aside sarcasm and playing upon words. Remember that you are in a combat with Satan and his angels, as well as with the man.

This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and Song, pp. 240-242 by Ellen G. White.