How should problems of harsh words and disunity be dealt with if they occur in a Baha'i community?
57) "If any differences arise amongst you, behold Me standing before your face, and overlook the faults of one another for My name's sake and as a token of your love for My manifest and resplendent Cause. We love to see you at all times consorting in amity and concord within the paradise of My good-pleasure, and to inhale from your acts the fragrance of friendliness and unity, of loving-kindness and fellowship."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 375)
58) "O Brethren! Be forbearing one with another..."
(Baha'u'llah, Persian Hidden Words, No. 48)
59) "In brief, 0 ye believers of God! The text of the Divine Book is this: If two souls quarrel and contend about a question of the Divine questions, differing and disputing, both are wrong. The wisdom of this incontrovertible law of God is this: That between two souls from amongst the believers of God, no contention and dispute may arise; that they may speak with each other with infinite amity and love. Should there appear the least trace of controversy, they must remain silent, and both parties must continue their discussions no longer, but ask the reality of the question from the Interpreter. This is the irrefutable command!"
(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, pp. 21-22)
60) "The believers and maid-servants of the Merciful must all consider how to produce harmony, so that the unity of the human world may be realized, not that every wholly unimportant subject become conducive to differences of opinion.
"It is my hope that the friends and the maid-servants of America become united on all subjects and not disagree at all. If they agree upon a subject, even though it be wrong, it is better than to disagree and be in the right, for this difference will produce the demolition of the divine foundation. Though one of the parties may be in the right and they disagree that will be the cause of a thousand wrongs, but if they agree and both parties are in the wrong, as it is in unity the truth will be revealed and the wrong made right."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 417)
61) "It behoveth all the beloved of God to become as one, to gather together under the protection of a single flag, to stand for a uniform body of opinion, to follow one and the same pathway, to hold fast to a single resolve. Let them forget their divergent theories and put aside their conflicting views since, God be praised, our purpose is one, our goal is one. We are the servants of one Threshold, we all draw our nourishment from the same one Source, we all are gathered in the shade of the same high Tabernacle, we all are sheltered under the one celestial Tree."
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings Abdu'l-Baha, p. 230)
62) "When criticism and harsh words arise within a Baha'i community, there is no remedy except to put the past behind one, and persuade all concerned to turn over a new leaf, and for the sake of God and His Faith refrain from mentioning the subjects which have led to misunderstanding and inharmony. The more the friends argue back and forth and maintain, each side, that their point of view is the right one, the worse the whole situation becomes.
"When we see the condition the world is in today, we must surely forget these utterly insignificant internal disturbances, and rush, unitedly, to the rescue of humanity. You should urge your fellow-Baha’is to take this point of view, and support you in a strong effort to suppress every critical thought and every harsh word, in order to let the spirit of Baha'u'llah flow into the entire community, and unite it in His love and in His service."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 16, 1951)
63) 'However, he feels very strongly that if... is in the state your letter would seem to indicate it is certainly conducting its affairs in the wrong way. This does not mean the Assembly, it means everyone. For where is Baha'i love? Where is putting unity and harmony first? Where is the willingness to sacrifice one's personal feelings and opinions to achieve love and harmony? What makes the Baha'is think that when they sacrifice the spiritual laws the administrative laws are going to work?
'He urges you to exert your utmost to get the... Baha'is to put aside such obnoxious terms as “radical,” “conservative,” “progressive,” “enemies of the Cause,” “squelching the teachings,” etc.. If they paused for one moment to think for what purpose the Bab and the Martyrs gave their lives, and Baha’u'llah and the Master accepted so much suffering, they would never let such definitions and accusations cross their lips when speaking of each other. As long as the friends quarrel amongst themselves their efforts will not be blessed for they are disobeying God.'
(From a letter dated 24 February 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
64) "Since you have turned to him for guidance, he will very frankly give you his opinion.
"He feels that the present inharmony prevailing amongst you... is very detrimental to the advancement of the Cause, and can only lead to disruption and the chilling of the interest of new believers. You... should forget about your personal grievances, and unite for the protection of the Faith which he well knows you are all loyally devoted to and ready to sacrifice for.
"Perhaps the greatest test Baha’is are ever subjected to is from each other; but for the sake of the Master they should be ever ready to overlook each other’s mistakes, apologize for harsh words they have uttered, forgive and forget. He strongly recommends to you this course of action.
"Also he feels that you and… should not remain away from the meetings and Feasts in…, and you should show them a strong example of Baha’i discipline and the unity which can and must prevail amongst the Community of the Most Great Name."
(From a letter dated 18 December 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
65) "What the believers need is not only, as you state, to really study the teachings, but also to have more peace-makers circulating among them. Unfortunately, not only average people, but average Baha’is, are very immature; gossip, trouble-making, criticism, seem easier than the putting into practice of love, constructive words and cooperation. It is one of the functions of the older and more mature Baha’is, to help the weaker ones to iron out their difficulties and learn to function and live like true believers!"
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 11, 1950)
66) "The greatest need it seems everywhere inside the Cause is to impress upon the friends the need for love among them. There is a tendency to mix up the functions of the Administration and try to apply it in individual relationships, which is abortive, because the Assembly is a nascent House of Justice and is supposed to administer, according to the Teachings, the affairs of the Community. But individuals towards each other are governed by love, unity, forgiveness and a sin-covering eye. Once the friends grasp this they will get along much better, but they keep playing Spiritual Assembly to each other and expect the Assembly to behave like an individual."
(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, October 5, 1950)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Refining Utterance (57-66)
Posted by Paul Mantle at 11:46 PM