Strive ye, then, with all your heart to treat compassionately all humankind – except for those who have some selfish, private motive, or some disease of the soul. Kindness cannot be shown the tyrant, the deceiver, or the thief, because, far from awakening them to the error of their ways, it maketh them to continue in their perversity as before. No matter how much kindliness ye may expend upon the liar, he will but lie the more, for he believeth you to be deceived, while ye understand him but too well, and only remain silent out of your extreme compassion. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 74)
I’m helping a friend deal with this situation today. She’s chosen to not attend her mother’s funeral because an abusive brother has seized control of the mother’s assets and charged her with a crime she didn’t commit. She’s been made to feel unwelcome at the funeral. It’s a hard day for her and for me as it brings up a lot of issues around my own brothers doing something similar, causing me to be notified of my mother’s (and father’s) deaths too late to attend, and resulting in my being cut out of my mother’s will too. We have both chosen to act on this injunction: to remain silent (and stay away so she isn’t tempted) out of extreme compassion for her own poor self.
Life is not fair! There are people who are tyrants, liars and thieves and people who have selfish, private motives and diseases of the soul. In these situations we can be confused about how to act. Our first thought, after the shock wears off and we come out of denial about what’s been happening, is to want justice. When we encounter the system in place in our societies today, we are further shocked to discover that the so-called “justice” system is in fact a “legal” system. Big difference!
In other places in the Baha’i Writings, we see that God has pledged never to forgive another man’s injustice (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Persian 64)
Knowing I can leave justice in God’s hands, I can let go of my need for revenge, and 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 Overcoming Abuse and Violence