Saturday, June 6, 2009

Refining Utterance (106-114)

The Baha'i writings explain what our speech should be like in relation to our actions.

106) "The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life."

Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)

107) "Say: Beware, 0 people of Baha, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds. Strive that you may be enabled to manifest to the peoples of the earth the signs of God, and to mirror forth His commandments. Let your acts be a guide unto all mankind, for the professions of most men, be they high or low, differ from their conduct. it is through your deeds that ye can distinguish yourselves from others."

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 305)

108) "Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds."

Persian Hidden Words, No. 76)

109) "Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, 0 Brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning."

Persian Hidden Words, No. 5)

110) "Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion."

Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 138)

111) "Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path... What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.

"The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world's misery would very soon be changed into comfort.

"A man who does great good, and talks not of it, is on the way to perfection.

"The man who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech is worth very little.

"If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love—you will know without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you know—and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words, that I loved you.

"People make much profession of goodness, multiplying fine words because they wish to be thought greater and better than their fellows, seeking fame in the eyes of the world. Those who do most good use fewest words concerning their actions.

"The children of God do the works without boasting..."

Paris Talks, pp. 76-77)

112) "All over the world one hears beautiful sayings extolled and noble precepts admired. All men say they love what is good, and hate everything that is evil! Sincerity is to be admired, whilst lying is despicable. Faith is a virtue, and treachery is a disgrace to humanity. It is a blessed thing to gladden the hearts of men, and wrong to be a cause of pain. To be kind and merciful is right, while to hate is sinful. Justice is a noble quality and injustice an iniquity. That it is one's duty to be pitiful and harm no one, and to avoid jealousy and malice at all costs. Wisdom is the glory of man, not ignorance; light, not darkness! It is a good thing to turn one's face toward God, and foolishness to ignore Him. That it is our duty to guide man upward, and not to mislead him and be the cause of his downfall. There are many more examples like unto these.

"But all these sayings are but words and we see very few of them carried into the world of action. On the contrary, we perceive that men are carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort, while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all.

"Unhappily this is the road most men tread.

"But Baha’is must not be thus; they must rise above this condition. Actions must be more to them than words. By their actions they must be merciful and not merely by their words. They must on all occasions confirm by their actions what they proclaim in words. Their deeds must prove their fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine Light.

"Let your actions cry aloud to the world that you are indeed Baha’is, for it is actions that speak to the world and are the cause of the progress of humanity.

"If we are true Baha’is speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip-service only that the elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought light into the world.

"Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!

"This is the work of a true Baha'i, and this is what is expected of him. If we strive to do all this, then are we true Baha’is, but if we neglect it, we are not followers of the Light, and we have no right to the name.

"God, who sees all hearts, knows how far our lives are the fulfillment of our words."

Paris Talks, pp. 79-87)

113) "Most important of all is that love and unity should prevail in the Baha'i Community, as this is what people are most longing for in the present dark state of the world. Words without the living example will never be sufficient to breathe hope into the hearts of a disillusioned and often cynical generation."

(From a letter dated 20 October 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

114) "If we profess loyalty to Baha’u’llah, to our Beloved Master and to our dear Guardian, then we must show our love by obedience to these explicit teachings. Deeds not words are what they demand, and no amount of fervour in the use of expressions of loyalty and adulation will compensate for failure to live in the spirit of the teachings."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, May 12, 1925)

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