It is even possible for those who have died in sin and unbelief to be transformed, that is, to become the object of divine forgiveness. This is through the grace of God and not through His justice, for grace is to bestow without desert, and justice is to give that which is deserved. As we have the power to pray for those souls here, so too will we have the same power in the next world, the world of the Kingdom. Are not all the creatures in that world the creation of God? They must therefore be able to progress in that world as well. And just as they can seek illumination here through supplication, so too can they plead there for forgiveness and seek illumination through prayer and supplication. Thus, as souls can progress in this world through their entreaties and supplications, or through the prayers of holy souls, so too after death can they progress through their own prayers and supplications, particularly if they become the object of the intercession of the holy Manifestations. (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 2014 ed., p. 62)
I used to think I was perfect and the people who abused me were monsters. As I’ve studied the Baha’i Writings and become more enlightened, I realize that we are all sinners, me included. In the grand scheme of sins, surely lying (“the worst of qualities and most odious of attributes, which is the foundation of all evil”) and gossip and backbiting (the most great sins; “accursed wouldst thou be”; “quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul”) are the two most important, even before sexual sins. I think if we would all work on these two sins, the rest would be easy in comparison.
With that in mind, I can approach this prayer with gratitude, knowing that the people who turned away from God and abused me can still be forgiven by God and transformed. I can pray for them; they can pray for themselves; and best of all, the Manifestations of God can pray for them and they will be forgiven. I can leave the justice to God and focus on my own sins, hopefully recognizing them in this life and accepting God’s forgiveness and even if I mess up, I know that there are people and Manifestations who can pray for me and I can also pray for myself. It takes a lot of pressure off trying to be perfect!
Knowing there are many ways to be forgiven even in the next world, I can relax and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation