I hope that the believers of God will shun completely backbiting, each one praising the other cordially and believe that backbiting is the cause of Divine wrath, to such an extent that if a person backbites to the extent of one word, he may become dishonored among all the people, because the most hateful characteristic of man is fault-finding. One must expose the praiseworthy qualities of the souls and not their evil attributes. The friends must overlook their shortcomings and faults and speak only of their virtues and not their defects. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. IV, No.11, p. 192)
I’ve written before on the topic of backbiting but it’s not surprising that there are so many quotes dealing with this issue, since it is considered the “most-great sin”. In today’s quote we’re reminded again why we don’t do it – because it causes Divine wrath and makes me dishonored among everyone in the world. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want God to be angry at me. I imagine Him angry at me for things I haven’t done, at times when I’m sure He’s more likely to be the “all-forgiving” and “ever-compassionate” and “all-merciful” but this is one time when He really is the “all-wrathful”. That alone is enough to make me want to stop! So I love this quote because it tells me what to do instead.
- Overlook people’s shortcomings and faults
- Praise people cordially
- Expose their praiseworthy characteristics
- Speak only of their virtues and not their defects
Our society is so immersed in gossip and backbiting that it’s easy to fall into it. When the House of Justice asks us to engage in “elevated discourse”, this is an easy way to do it. Now when I find myself with people who are engaging in backbiting, I can turn to Him and ask for help to remember to take these actions.
Knowing what to do instead of backbiting, 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