Saturday, June 6, 2009

Refining Utterance (19-26)

What the Baha'i Writings and authoritative texts say about fault-finding and negative criticism of others.

19) "How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me."

Arabic Hidden Words, No. 26)

20) "If ye become aware of a sin committed by another, conceal it, that God may conceal your own sin. He, verily, is the Concealer, the Lord of grace abounding."

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 55)

21) "O Essence of Desire! At many a dawn have I turned from the realms of the Placeless unto thine abode, and found thee on the bed of ease busied with others than Myself. Thereupon, even as the flash of the spirit, I returned to the realms of celestial glory and breathed it not in My retreats above unto the hosts of holiness."

Persian Hidden Words, No. 28)

22) "O Companion of My Throne! Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed. Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom for evermore."

Persian Hidden Words, No. 44)

23) "Beware lest ye harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe. Pray ye for all; ask ye that all be blessed, all be forgiven. Beware, beware, lest any of you seek vengeance, even against one who is thirsting for your blood. Beware, beware lest ye offend the feelings of another, even though he be an evil-doer, and he wish you ill. Look ye not upon the creatures, turn ye to their Creator."

Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 73)

24) 'One must see in every human being only that which is worthy of praise. When this is done, one can be a friend to the whole human race. If, however, we look at people from the standpoint of their faults, then being a friend to them is a formidable task.

It happened one day in the time of Christ—may the life of the world be a sacrifice unto Him—that He passed by the dead body of a dog, a carcass reeking, hideous, the limbs rotting away. One of those present said. "How foul its stench!" And another said: "How sickening! How loathsome!" To be brief, each one of them had something to add to the list.

But then Christ Himself spoke, and He told them: "Look at that dog's teeth! How gleaming white!"

The Messiah's sin-covering gaze did not for a moment dwell upon the repulsiveness of that carrion. The one element of that dead dog's carcass which was not abomination was the teeth: and Jesus looked upon their brightness.

Thus is it incumbent upon us, when we direct our gaze toward other people, to see where they excel, not where they fail.'

Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 169)

25) "Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reached perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them... In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God..."

Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 230-231)

26) "Vicious criticism is indeed a calamity. But its root is lack of faith in the system of Baha'u'llah, i.e., the Administrative Order—and lack of obedience to Him—for He has forbidden it! If the Baha'is would follow the Baha'i laws in voting, in electing, in serving and in abiding by Assembly decisions, all this waste of strength through criticizing others could be diverted into cooperation and achieving the Plan..."

(From a letter written in behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 18, 1949)

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