Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the word . . .

                 H A R S H n e s s         (  4  RELATED  PHRASES )                  

                    The  word  'harshness'  appears  260  times in the published writings of EGW                           See page on the Original site                                    Related Phrase:   Harshness of speech  ( 7 ) - -  manifest harshness  (  )  - -  overcome harshness  ( below )  - -  harshness toward  ( 4 )

  How many prodigals are kept out of the kingdom of God by the slovenly character of those whom claim to be Christians. Jealousy, envy, pride, uncharitable feelings, self-righteousness, being easily provoked, thinking evil, harshness, coldness, lack of sympathy -- these are the attributes of Satan. Teachers will meet with these things in the student's characters. It is a terrible thing to have these things to deal with; but in seeking to cast out these evils, the worker has in many instances developed similar attributes which have marred the soul of the one with whom he is dealing.-- Lt 50, 1893.  {1MCP 192.2}


  Harshness or coldness shown by a disciple toward one whom Christ was drawing -- such an act as that of John in forbidding one to work miracles in Christ's name -- might result in turning the feet into the path of the enemy, and causing the loss of a soul. Rather than for one to do this, said Jesus, "it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea." And He added, "If thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell." Mark 9:43-45, R. V.  {DA 438.2}


  Ministers of the gospel sometimes do great harm by allowing their forbearance toward the erring to degenerate into toleration of sins and even participation in them. Thus they are led to excuse and palliate that which God condemns, and after a time they become so blinded as to commend the very ones whom God commands them to reprove. He who has blunted his spiritual perceptions by sinful leniency toward those whom God condemns, will erelong commit a greater sin by severity and harshness toward those whom God approves.  {AA 504.1}   Read entire Chapter 49


  While we are not to indulge blind affection, neither are we to manifest undue severity. Children cannot be brought to the Lord by force. They can be led, but not driven. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me," Christ declares. He did not say, My sheep hear My voice and are forced into the path of obedience. In the government of children love must be shown. Never should parents cause their children pain by harshness or unreasonable exactions. Harshness drives souls into Satan's net.  {AH 307.3}  {CT 114.1}


  Parents should keep the atmosphere of the home pure and fragrant with kind words, with tender sympathy and love; but at the same time they are to be firm and unyielding in principle. If you are firm with your children, they may think that you do not love them. This you may expect, but never manifest harshness. Justice and mercy must clasp hands; there must be no wavering or impulsive movements.  {AH 434.5}
  Let us honor our profession of faith. Let us adorn our lives with beautiful traits of character. Harshness of speech and action is not of Christ, but of Satan. Shall we, by clinging to our imperfections and deformities, make Christ ashamed of us? His grace is promised to us. If we will receive it, it will beautify our lives. . . . Deformity will be exchanged for goodness, perfection. Our lives will be adorned with the graces that made Christ's life so beautiful. . . .  {AG 263.4}


  You need the kindness, courtesy, meekness, and lowliness of Christ.  You have many valuable qualifications that can be perfected for highest service if sanctified to God.  You should feel the necessity of approaching your brethren with kindness and courtesy, not with harshness and severity.  You do not realize the harm you do by your sharp, domineering spirit toward them.  The ministers in your conference become disheartened, losing the courage they might have if you would give then respect, kindness, confidence, and love.  By your manner of dealing you have separated the hearts of your brethren from you, so  that your counsel has not had much influence over them for good.  This is not as the Lord would have it.  He is not pleased with your attitude toward your brethren.--Letter 3, 1888, p. 4, Jan. 10, 1888. {ChL 6.3}
  In no case are teachers to lose self-control, to manifest impatience and harshness, and a want of sympathy and love. Those who are naturally fretful, easily provoked, and who have cherished the habit of criticism and evil thinking, should find some other kind of work, where their unlovely traits of character will not be reproduced in the children and youth. In the place of being fitted to instruct the children, such teachers need one to teach them the lessons of Jesus Christ.  {CT 197.1}


  He says, "Whosoever shall humble himself" (verse 4). How hard it is! It is like severing an arm. But whatever spirit there is in us that prompts to harshness and arbitrary action, however dear that spirit is to us, or however much we want to cherish it, that spirit must die. That spirit must go out of our hearts and go out of the church, and the spirit of love and tenderness and forbearance come in.  {9MR 58.1}
No unlikeness to Christ will be permitted in the holy city. The process of gaining perfection of character is to be carried on in this life, that we may be prepared for the future immortal life. It is God's purpose that His church on earth shall reach perfection. It is essential that His directions be strictly obeyed. The members are to help and strengthen one another. No self-exaltation or accusing or harshness are to be shown in our dealings with one another. We must purify our souls through love and obedience to the truth. We must act like saints toward one another, preparing ourselves, drilling ourselves, to be without fault in character, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. -- Letter 67, 1905, pp. 2-7. (Written February 18, 1905, from St. Helena, California, to Brethren and Sisters.)   {15MR 171.2}
  It would be well if those occupying positions of trust in our institutions would remember that they are to be representatives of Jesus. True goodness, holiness, love, compassion for tempted souls must be revealed in their lives. Christ gave Himself to the world, that He might save those who would believe in Him. Shall not we, partakers of this great salvation, value the souls for whom He gave His life! Let us labor with a perseverance and energy proportionate to the value Christ places upon His blood-bought heritage. Human souls have cost too much to be trifled with, or treated with harshness or indifference{ ChL 7.5 }


                                                                       overcome   harshness                                                                                    


Bring the sunshine of heaven into your conversation. By speaking words that encourage and cheer, you will reveal that the sunshine of Christ's righteousness dwells in your soul. Children need pleasant words. It is essential to their happiness to feel approval resting upon them. Strive to overcome harshness of expression, and cultivate soft tones. Catch the beauty contained in the lessons of God's Word, and cherish this as essential to the happiness and success of your homelife. In a happy environment the children will develop dispositions that are sweet and sunshiny.  {RC 185.2}  {ST, November 14, 1911 par. 7}​


We need individually to open our hearts to the love of God, to overcome selfishness and harshness, and to let Jesus in to take possession of the soul. The educator of youth will do well to remember that with all his advantages of age, education, and experience, he is not yet a perfect overcomer; he is himself erring, and makes many failures. As Christ deals with him, he should endeavor to deal with the youth under his care, who have had fewer advantages, and less favorable surroundings than he himself has enjoyed. Christ has borne with the erring through all their manifest perversity and rebellion. His love for the sinner does not grow cold, his efforts do not cease, and he does not give him up to the buffeting of Satan. He has stood with open arms to welcome again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. By precept and example, teachers should represent Christ in the education and training of youth; and in the day of Judgment they will not be put to shame by meeting their students, and the history of their management of them.  {CE 25.3}


Dear Sister Mary Nelson:  As a Christian, you have duties to do that are left undone. You are not giving your children the education that they need. Your disposition is such that you are not molding and fashioning their characters after the divine similitude. You are in as much need of having your temper sweetened as is your husband. Your harshness of voice and your disagreeable disposition should be entirely overcome. Although a mother, you have not been learning lessons of self-control. You should cultivate pleasing traits of character. You may and should cultivate sweetness of disposition. Do not delay; for your habits are becoming fixed.  {DG 206.6}



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Related Information

Harsh Harsh treatment Harshness of speech Harshness toward (4) Manifest harshness