June 3, 2019

To Understand and To Be Understood

Building bridges of understanding in our communities and in society in general.

Adventist Review Editors

When angry weapon wielders turn places of worship into scenes of slaughter, places for children’s learning into crime scenes, and streets for pedestrian strolling into killing fields, what do God and sanity have to say? This month we offer timeless counsel­—pithy, prophetic, pointed, and wise—from God’s Word, the Bible, along with other sane voices about building bridges of understanding in our communities and in society in general.—Editors

“And this is what [Joseph] sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, ‘Don’t quarrel on the way!’”

Genesis 45:23, 24.

“I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet and composer.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

King David (Ps. 133:1).

“We in the United States should be all the more thankful for the freedom and religious tolerance we enjoy. And we should always remember the lessons learned from the Holocaust, in hopes we stay vigilant against such inhumanity now and in the future.”

Charlie Dent, American politician and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Disentangling religion and government was good for both.”


“We are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life—whoever you are, whatever our differences.”

John Denver, twentieth-century American entertainer.

“Change begins with understanding and understanding begins by identifying oneself with another person: in a word, empathy.”

Richard Eyre, British media authority.

“The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition, are infinitely precious, . . . because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long.”


“I have a low tolerance for people who complain about things but never do anything to change them. This led me to conclude that the single largest pool of untapped natural resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into actions.”

Cindy Gallop, English advertising consultant.

“Foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Isaiah 56:6, 7.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus (Matt. 22:37-40).

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”

John F. Kennedy, former U.S. president.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. . . . Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., twentieth-century civil rights leader.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Apostle Peter (1 Peter 4:8).

“Real understanding comes when we recognize our humanity in each other.”

Phylicia Rashad, American actor.

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”

Ralph W. Sockman, twentieth-century American pastor.

We don’t need holy wars. What we need is tolerance and brotherhood and simple humanity.”

Arlen Specter, American politician and former U.S. senator.

“God is still using His church to make known His purpose in the earth. Today the heralds of the cross are going from city to city, and from land to land, preparing the way for the second advent of Christ. The standard of God’s law is being exalted. The Spirit of the Almighty is moving upon men’s hearts, and those who respond to its influence become witnesses for God and His truth. In many places consecrated men and women may be seen communicating to others the light that has made plain to them the way of salvation through Christ. And as they continue to let their light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they receive more and still more of the Spirit’s power. Thus the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God.”

Ellen G. White, cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 53).

“[Jesus] showed that our neighbor does not mean merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is every one who is the property of God.”

Ellen G. White (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 376).