Mrs. E. G. WhiteHuman beings belong to one great family,–the family of God. The Creator designed that they should respect and love one another, ever manifesting a pure, unselfish interest in one another’s welfare. But Satan’s aim has been to lead men to self first; and yielding themselves to his control, they have developed a selfishness that has filled the world with misery and strife, setting human beings at variance with one another. Selfishness is the essence of depravity, and because human beings have yielded to its power, the opposite of allegiance to God is seen in the world today. Nations, families, and individuals are filled with a desire to make self a center. Man longs to rule over his fellow men. Separating himself in his egotism from God and his fellow beings, he follows his unrestrained inclinations. He acts as if the good of others depended on their subjection to his supremacy.
Selfishness has brought discord into the church, filling it with unholy ambition. If Christians are sanctified through a belief in God’s Word, why do they so often speak words that would bruise the hearts of others? Why do they acknowledge no law but the law of selfishness? Under the baleful influence of selfishness, men have lost the sense of what it means to love one another with a Christlike love.
Love for Christ unites man to his fellow man in unselfish interest. This is the science of benevolence. He whose heart is filled with the love that centers in God, realizes that he must deal justly and tenderly with his fellow beings because they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Supreme love for God leads us to seek the highest good of humanity.
Selfishness destroys Christlikeness filling man with self-love. It leads to continual departure from righteousness. Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But self-love is blind to the perfection which God requires.
How great the love of God is! God made the world to enlarge heaven. He desired a larger family. And before man was created, God and Christ entered into a covenant that if he fell from his allegiance, Christ would bear the penalty of transgression. Man fell, but he was not left to the power of the destroyer. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” To the Redeemer was given all power to impart to fallen human beings for their benefit and blessing.
While on this earth, the Saviour was sorely tried. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He poured out his soul with strong crying and tears as he looked upon the backslidden condition of the people he had brought out of bondage. He saw them full of pride and self-exaltation, full of selfishness and covetousness. All this he must labor to overcome. He must live among them the life that God requires all his children to live. He must stand free from the slightest taint of impurity. Not in the least particular must he deviate from the principles of righteousness.
The gulf made by sin has been bridged. All may come boldly to the throne of grace, seeking help in every time of need. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He took the place of the sinner, that he might present the repentant sinner to the Father, saying, “Lay his guilt on me. I have espoused his cause.” Holding out his hands, bearing the marks of his crucifixion, the Saviour says, “I have graven that sinner upon the palms of my hands. No longer look upon him as guilty. Let him stand before thee guiltless; for I have borne his iniquity.” At the cross, justice and mercy met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. God bowed his head in recognition of the completeness of the offering made for sin, and said, “It is enough.”
As we contemplate the great love of God, shall not our hearts be subdued and softened, yea, broken? Shall we not be filled with patience, long-suffering, and love? Shall we not die to self?
Christ came to this world to reveal the love of God. His followers are to continue the work which he began. Let us strive to help and strengthen one another. Seeking the good of others is the way in which true happiness can be found. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow men. The more unselfish his spirit, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for him. The breath of God is breathed through him, filling him with gladness. To him life is a sacred trust, precious in his sight because given by God to be spent in ministering to others.
“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath not seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also.”
Review and Herald, June 25, 1908