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Old 07-07-2017, 11:26 AM   #1
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The Boundaries of Kindness

I Have often read in Baha'i scripture that we should walk with the people of earth in kindness and friendliness; that we should like all people and try to help them as much as possible. But there is also the lines which talk about not loving those who deny the Beauty of the Beloved. I read just now in a Persian Tablet by Baha'ullah the following line:

"Do not like the enemy of My Beauty, and do not befriend the enemy of My Being."

The similar matter is pointed out in a part of Tablet of Ahmad when Baha'ullah says, "Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies..."

now the question "specially" for someone who lives in the country I live in is, following this commandment, I should dislike almost all the people of the country! well, I naturally do not like those who oppose this Holy Cause, and oppose severely, which is already 90% of the people of my country. so how should one behave in this condition? what is the exact meaning of "be a flame of fire" and "dislike My enemies"?
 
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:47 AM   #2
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"O ye beloved of the Lord! The Kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul. 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

And then it takes a lifetime - or, rather several lifetimes - to figure out how to put all this into action.

And, maryamr, I just love the way you think.

Best from

your admirer

gnat, busy buzzing around, trying to make sense of life
 
Old 07-07-2017, 12:08 PM   #3
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hahaha

thank you dear Gnat for the very good quote you provided. And I really like your manner of answering the questions; alllwaayys make me laugh
 
Old 07-07-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
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Oh, such compliments make me blush.

I had to change my profile picture to reflect my blushing face.

Best

from

a red-snouted gnat
 
Old 07-07-2017, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
I Have often read in Baha'i scripture that we should walk with the people of earth in kindness and friendliness; that we should like all people and try to help them as much as possible. But there is also the lines which talk about not loving those who deny the Beauty of the Beloved. I read just now in a Persian Tablet by Baha'ullah the following line:

"Do not like the enemy of My Beauty, and do not befriend the enemy of My Being."

The similar matter is pointed out in a part of Tablet of Ahmad when Baha'ullah says, "Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies..."

now the question "specially" for someone who lives in the country I live in is, following this commandment, I should dislike almost all the people of the country! well, I naturally do not like those who oppose this Holy Cause, and oppose severely, which is already 90% of the people of my country. so how should one behave in this condition? what is the exact meaning of "be a flame of fire" and "dislike My enemies"?

Maryamr good to hear from you

I see this as attitude to Covernant Breaking. Those that have not accepted Baha'u'llah's Station, are not really enemies of the Spirit, in fact they can be a bounty to our Spirit and they can change.

Wheras those that are enemies of the Spirit, as we know need to be avoided at all costs. To be a flame of fire is to show them that true Faith can not be quenched by their endeavors.

Regards Tony
 
Old 07-08-2017, 06:59 AM   #6
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Being a flame of fire will burn some people but provide light to others.

It is part of the relativity of religious truth, which according to Shoghi Effendi is the basic principle enunciated by Baha'u'llah. According to Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah can be compared to the sun. Here also the analogy applies: some people only feel the warmth of the sun, others see the light. The injunction of Baha'u'llah is to avoid going from the light to the darkness. At all times and under all conditions, the evolution is from the darkness to the light, not vice-versa. There is a saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas (Gospel of Thomas Translated by Paterson Brown) to the same effect:

82. Yeshua says: Whoever is close to me is close to the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the Sovereignty.

Last edited by ernobe; 07-08-2017 at 07:32 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2017, 05:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
now the question "specially" for someone who lives in the country I live in is, following this commandment, I should dislike almost all the people of the country! well, I naturally do not like those who oppose this Holy Cause, and oppose severely, which is already 90% of the people of my country.
I am puzzled by your appreciation of the situation.
What is the specific thing that 90% of people in your country are opposing to?

What is the target of their opposition: Is it a specific Baha'i doctrine? Is it some aspect or the Baha'i way of living?

It is not my purpose to minimize any of the many tribulations that the Friends are going through in Iran or any other country in the world.
I know there are evil forces working against us. What I am trying to say is that the vast majority of people at any country, at any time in history, have wanted and keep wanting the same things that you want: peace, health, love, knowledge, work, beauty.

We cannot see people, in general, as being opposed to the essence of the Baha'i Faith: otherwise mankind would be doomed. We are confident on the success of the Cause, and this confidence stems from knowing that our human fellows are still the image of His Creator, endowed with a rational mind and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Last edited by camachoe; 07-10-2017 at 06:49 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2017, 09:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernobe View Post
Being a flame of fire will burn some people but provide light to others.

It is part of the relativity of religious truth, which according to Shoghi Effendi is the basic principle enunciated by Baha'u'llah. According to Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah can be compared to the sun. Here also the analogy applies: some people only feel the warmth of the sun, others see the light. The injunction of Baha'u'llah is to avoid going from the light to the darkness. At all times and under all conditions, the evolution is from the darkness to the light, not vice-versa. There is a saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas (Gospel of Thomas Translated by Paterson Brown) to the same effect:

82. Yeshua says: Whoever is close to me is close to the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the Sovereignty.

Indeed, that saying of Jesus is widely attested in the writings of the Church Fathers too. It is thought to be a genuine agraphon or extra-canonical saying.

"Whoever is near me is near the fire; whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom." (Origen, Homilies on Jeremiah 20.3; Gospel of Thomas 82; Didymus the Blind, Commentary on Psalms 88.8)
 
Old 07-19-2017, 09:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
I am puzzled by your appreciation of the situation.
What is the specific thing that 90% of people in your country are opposing to?

What is the target of their opposition: Is it a specific Baha'i doctrine? Is it some aspect or the Baha'i way of living?

It is not my purpose to minimize any of the many tribulations that the Friends are going through in Iran or any other country in the world.
I know there are evil forces working against us. What I am trying to say is that the vast majority of people at any country, at any time in history, have wanted and keep wanting the same things that you want: peace, health, love, knowledge, work, beauty.

We cannot see people, in general, as being opposed to the essence of the Baha'i Faith: otherwise mankind would be doomed. We are confident on the success of the Cause, and this confidence stems from knowing that our human fellows are still the image of His Creator, endowed with a rational mind and the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Dear Camchoe
I live in a country where Bahais are under great restriction; Bahai students cannot attend the universities, just because they are Baahi. they cannot work in governmental organizations (say even as a university teacher). they cannot buy personal properties like house, and they do not have the freedom of speech in any rates. and yet, they have to pay taxes like normal citizemns while they are deprived of almost all the benefits of a normal citizen. they are jailed every once in a while. now why almost 90% of the people here are opposed to Bahai faith? it is, I guess, because it is a Shia country. the greatest majority of people are Shia and they do not believe in the continuation of the line of prophets. they say Mohammad is the last one. many of my relatives, if they know about my belief, will curse me and won't like to let me in their houses anymore because non-Shias are "dirty". but that is still a good reaction; many more will tell it to the government which will bring the death penalty to someone who has changed his/her religion.
some people are open minded enough to listen to me and say, "ok, that is your personal life. you are the owner of your life." and some very few will be challenged to make a study about it. but the majority of people will get really really mad about it; REALLY MAD.
 
Old 07-19-2017, 01:27 PM   #10
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Dear Maryamr

I could hardly imagine the difficulties you and other Baha'i are experiencing in your country.
I send out my heart and prayers to you.

Regarding how to behave towards our enemies,

"Bahá’u’lláh said that we should love even our enemies and be to them as friends. If all men were obedient to this principle, the greatest unity and understanding would be established in the hearts of mankind." (Abdul'Bahá, Paris talks)

We are not expected to like them. It is perfectly honest not to like them.

We all have colleagues, roommates, classmates, bosses, employees, teachers, pupils that we don't like. We sometimes have even brothers and sisters that we don't like... and that is fine!!

We are expected, though, to love them. Love is a different standard.

Liking is about emotions. Loving is about principles.

When you act guided by love you first respect, then get interested in the long term well being of their true self, and finally act with justice.

When you like someone, you may be the winner or the loser, as your state depends on how the other person likes you back.
When you love someone, though, you are always the winner.
When you treat a person with kindness, dignity and fairness, whether you like her or not, your ability to enjoy your life increases.

Jesus is said to have asked us:
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Mathew 5:44)

“How blessed are you whenever people insult you, persecute you, and say all sorts of evil things against you falsely because of me! Rejoice and be extremely glad, because your reward in heaven is great! That’s how they persecuted the prophets who came before you.” (Mathew 5:12)
Let me add a quote from someone who said that the Baha'i Faith was "the solace of humankind":
"It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business." – Mahatma Gandhi
God will guide you at each moment. Keep us posted on how you are doing, Maryarm!

Last edited by camachoe; 07-19-2017 at 02:08 PM.
 
Old 07-19-2017, 10:58 PM   #11
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That was a wonderful response Camachoe. in fact you answered another question in my mind I was thinking about yesterday.
Yesterday as I was having a rest on the grasses in a public garden, I saw a Muslim woman talking (as a teacher) to a big group of women. She was spreading very false ideas according to Quran and the worse part was many of the women who were listening, were agreeing with her. The ideas she was teaching were SO false and SO naive and SO destructive that I felt sick on the spot and it continued until I slept at night.
the next morning I thought, "How can God love all His creatures? how can -->I<-- love everyone? How can I love someone like that woman?" and it looked REALLY impossible to me.
Now you made this very wise distinction between loving and liking; I see I had been trying to "like" people instead of "loving" them. I will ponder more about this aspect to absorb it fully in my soul
thank you so much
 
Old 07-20-2017, 06:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
That was a wonderful response Camachoe. in fact you answered another question in my mind I was thinking about yesterday.
Yesterday as I was having a rest on the grasses in a public garden, I saw a Muslim woman talking (as a teacher) to a big group of women. She was spreading very false ideas according to Quran and the worse part was many of the women who were listening, were agreeing with her. The ideas she was teaching were SO false and SO naive and SO destructive that I felt sick on the spot and it continued until I slept at night.
the next morning I thought, "How can God love all His creatures? how can -->I<-- love everyone? How can I love someone like that woman?" and it looked REALLY impossible to me.
Now you made this very wise distinction between loving and liking; I see I had been trying to "like" people instead of "loving" them. I will ponder more about this aspect to absorb it fully in my soul
thank you so much
It is an amazing distinction between love and like. And because we love God, it is easier to love others as God's children, recognizing that God asks us to love all and leave the judgement to him. The liking part is where courtesy and kindness steps in. It is a beautiful dance we engage in living our faith.

Loving regards,
Becky
 
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