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‘Abdu’l-Baha warned us that the worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause:

The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)

And that the enemies who call themselves friends, yet persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to deal with in this day:

We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)

Shoghi Effendi warned us that one of the greatest problems in the Cause is the relation of the believers to each other:

One of the greatest problems in the Cause is the relation of the believers to each other; for their immaturity (shared with the rest of humanity) and imperfections retard the work, create complications, and discourage each other. (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 449)

He also said that often our severest tests come from each other:

. . . often our severest tests come from each other. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113)

But what do we do when the Baha’is turn against us? Let’s take a look at what the Baha’i Writings have to tell us!

The Problem with Others

A person may believe in and love the Cause – even being ready to die for it — and yet not have a good personal character or he may even possess traits at variance with the teaching:

There is a difference between character and faith; it is often hard to accept this fact and put up with it, but the fact that a person may believe in and love the Cause – even being ready to die for it — and yet not have a good personal character or posses traits at variance with the teachings. We try to change, to let the Power of God help recreate us make us true Bahá’ís in deed as well as in belief. But the process is slow, sometimes it never happened the individual does not try hard enough. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 75)

This causes us suffering and is a test for us especially if we love him and have been their teacher:

But these cause us suffering and are a test to us in our fellow-believers, most especially if we love him and have been their teacher! (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 75)

Nine-tenths of the friends’ troubles are because they don’t do the Bahá’í thing:

Generally speaking nine-tenths of the friends’ troubles are because they don’t do the Bahá’í thing, in relation to each other, to the administrative bodies or in their personal lives. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 114)

People have become veils unto themselves, and we entreat God to assist them to return to Him:

The Cause is manifest, it shineth resplendent as the sun, but the people have become veils unto themselves. We entreat God that He may graciously assist them to return unto Him. He is, in truth, the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 79)

How God Sees Them

Those who have perpetrated against us are even as the dead:

Truly they are even as dead, and not living. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

Their immaturity and imperfections retard the work, create complications, and discourage others:

. . . their immaturity (shared with the rest of humanity) and imperfections retard the work, create complications, and discourage each other. (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 449)

What’s Expected of Us

We must not let the things others have perpetrated grieve us:

Let not the things they have perpetrated grieve thee. Truly they are even as dead, and not living. Leave them unto the dead, then turn thy face towards Him Who is the Life-Giver of the world. Beware lest the sayings of the heedless sadden thee. Be thou steadfast in the Cause, and teach the people with consummate wisdom. Thus enjoineth thee the Ruler of earth and heaven. He is in truth the Almighty, the Most Generous. Ere long will God exalt thy remembrance and will inscribe with the Pen of Glory that which thou didst utter for the sake of His love. He is in truth the Protector of the doers of good. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

We must leave them with the dead, and turn our faces towards God:

Leave them unto the dead, then turn thy face towards Him Who is the Life-Giver of the world. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

We must not let the sayings of the heedless ones sadden us.

Beware lest the sayings of the heedless sadden thee. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

We must be steadfast in the Cause, and teach people with consummate wisdom:

Beware lest the sayings of the heedless sadden thee. Be thou steadfast in the Cause, and teach the people with consummate wisdom. Thus enjoineth thee the Ruler of earth and heaven. He is in truth the Almighty, the Most Generous. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

We must demonstrate the Bahá’í pattern of life and love and encourage them to do the same:

When others fall short of the standards of a Bahá’í way of life, we can demonstrate the Bahá’í pattern of life and love and encourage them to do the same, while taking refuge in the knowledge that this process takes time. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 120)

We must try to avert such things, and if they happen, remedy them through love:

Certainly the believers should try to avert such things, and if they happen, remedy them through love.   (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113)

We must put up with these things and try to combat them through love, patience and forgiveness individually, and proper administrative action collectively:

And yet we must put up with these things and try and combat them through love, patience and forgiveness individually, and proper administrative action collectively. (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 449)

We must use the violent forces released by sincere but misguided friends, as a positive stream of power by turning them into productive channels instead of destructive ones:

We Bahá’ís can always, with the aid of Bahá’u’lláh, Who, is ever ready to strengthen and assist us, turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and utilize the often violent forces released by sincere but perhaps misguided friends, as a positive stream of power by turning them into productive channels instead of destructive ones. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 602-603)

 Promises

God is the Protector of the doers of good, and before long He will exalt our remembrance:

Ere long will God exalt thy remembrance and will inscribe with the Pen of Glory that which thou didst utter for the sake of His love. He is in truth the Protector of the doers of good. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 15)

Though these shortcomings may slow the progress of the Faith they will not ultimately defeat it:

Though these shortcomings may slow the progress of the Faith they will not ultimately defeat it.   (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 120)

The energy we expend in enduring the intolerance of some individuals of our community is not lost. It is transformed into fortitude, steadfastness and magnanimity:

The energy we expend in enduring the intolerance of some individuals of our community is not lost. It is transformed into fortitude, steadfastness and magnanimity. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 603)

Punishment

God has pledged not to forgive any man’s injustice:

O OPPRESSORS ON EARTH!

Withdraw your hands from tyranny, for I have pledged Myself not to forgive any man’s injustice. This is My covenant which I have irrevocably decreed in the preserved tablet and sealed with My seal. (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words 64)

Before long such enemies will be attacked with madness:

But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)

Tests Involving Institutions

The Cause is still in its infancy and its institutions are not yet functioning perfectly:

The friends must be patient with each other and must realize that the Cause is still in its infancy and its institutions are not yet functioning perfectly. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

In some cases, the friends and the Assemblies are struggling with issues on the fron­tier of their spiritual growth:

As you know, there can be many reasons for Assemblies not to respond to the believers. Undoubtedly, in some cases, it is because the friends and the Assemblies are struggling with issues on the fron­tier of their spiritual growth. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

Such a process can lead to tremendous development on both the individual and the collective levels:

Such a process can lead to tremendous development on both the individual and the collective levels. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

Tak­ing part in this process should be a source of joy since we are helping to build the kingdom of God on Earth:

Tak­ing part in this process should be a source of joy to us since we are, in effect, helping to build the kingdom of God on Earth. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

 What’s Expected of Us

We must be patient with each other

The friends must be patient with each other and must realize that the Cause is still in its infancy and its institutions are not yet functioning perfectly. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must be patient, loving, understanding and forbearing:

The greater the patience, the loving understanding and the forbearance the believers show towards each other and their shortcomings, the greater will be the progress of the whole Bahá’í community at large.         (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must realize our own imperfections and don’t permit ourselves to get too upset:

We must realize our imperfection and not permit ourselves to get too upset over the unfortunate things which occur, sometimes in  Conventions, sometimes in Assemblies or on Committees, etc. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must understand that such things are essentially superficial and in time will be outgrown:

Such things are essentially superficial and in time will be outgrown. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must realize that whatever the nature of the obstacles, they will be eventually overcome:

You have complained of the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in the … Bahá’í Community; the Guardian is well aware of the situation of the Cause there, but is confident that whatever the nature of the obstacles that confront the Faith they will be eventually overcome. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must not feel discouraged or waver in our faith or loyalty to the Cause:

You should, under no circumstances, feel discouraged, and allow such difficulties, even though they may have resulted from the misconduct, or the lack of capacity and vision of certain members of the Community, to make you waver in your faith and basic loyalty to the Cause. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must not look at others, no matter how qualified they may be, or however high their intellectual and spiritual merits, as a standard whereby to evaluate and measure the divine authority and mission of the Faith:

Surely, the believers, no matter how qualified they may be, whether as teachers or administrators, and however high their intellectual and spiritual merits, should never be looked upon as a standard whereby to evaluate and measure the divine authority and mission of the Faith. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must keep looking to the Teachings themselves, and to the lives of the Founders of the Cause for our guidance and inspiration:

It is to the Teachings themselves, and to the lives of the Founders of the Cause that the believers should look for their guidance and inspiration, and only by keeping strictly to such [a] true attitude can they hope to establish their loyalty to Bahá’u’lláh upon an enduring and unassailable basis. You should take heart, therefore, and with unrelaxing vigilance and unremitting effort endeavour to play your full share in the gradual unfoldment of this Divine World Order. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 9)

We must maintain our confidence that the divinely ordained administrative system given to us by Bahá’u’lláh, and the inspiration of the Creative Word, will enable us to rise to these challenges:

We must maintain our confidence that the divinely ordained administrative system given to us by Bahá’u’lláh, and the inspiration of the Creative Word, will enable us to rise to these challenges. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

Sometimes we can facilitate this process of spiritual growth by viewing these situations as opportunities for development:

Sometimes we can facilitate this process of spiritual growth for individuals, and of maturation for Local and National Assemblies, by viewing these situations not as a problem but as opportunities for development. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

Patience is needed, particularly when it involves a subject that is close to our hearts; when it seems that progress is lagging or has ceased entirely:

Nevertheless, patience is needed, particularly when it involves a subject that is close to our hearts, and when it seems that progress on the matter is lagging or has ceased entirely. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 25 October, 1994)

How has this helped you understand your tests with other Baha’is? Post your comments below!