It is obvious that if we listen to those who complain to us about the faults of others we are guilty of complicity in their backbiting. We should therefore, as tactfully as possible, but yet firmly, do our utmost to prevent others from making accusations or complaints against others in our presence. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 94)
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to be part of conversations where people are complaining about others. It seems to be happening so often and when I get caught up in it, it feels like I’m sitting in a vat full of poison. I used to like hanging out in the common room in our apartment building to get to know my neighbors, but despite my best efforts to elevate the level of conversation, it always leaves me drained so now I avoid it entirely. I used to appreciate eating at the soup kitchen as it really helped keep my food budget down but when I heard people criticizing the organization that fed us, I couldn’t bear it so now I don’t go there either.
Some days I think I’m really withdrawing from the world to avoid the conflict and can easily get caught up in judging myself harshly for it. This quote gives me some comfort because it doesn’t say I have to stay and make things better, which I used to believe, it says I need to do my utmost to prevent others from making accusations or complaints against others in my presence. Avoiding the ungodly is acceptable in God’s eyes!
Knowing it’s OK to prevent others from making accusations or complaints in my presence I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through 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