Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be sincerely kind, not in appearance only

“Soon will your swiftly-passing days be over,
and the fame and riches, the comforts, the joys provided by
this rubbish-heap, the world,
will be gone without a trace. . . .

Be ye loving fathers to the orphan,
and a refuge to the helpless,
and a treasury for the poor,
and a cure for the ailing.

Be ye the helpers of every victim of oppression,
the patrons of the disadvantaged.

Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race.
Pay ye no heed to aversion and rejection,
to disdain, hostility, injustice:
act ye in the opposite way.                                                
Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only.”


This was written before the first World War, before the Second World War, before Korea, before Viet Nam, before any issues arose in the Middle East involving scud missiles or young people blowing themselves up.  It was written before nuclear weapons were used.  Before a country could shut down the internet.  Before the internet. 

This directive has a finger in the face feel.  It was obviously ignored by a lot of people who went on to engineer the collapse of the housing market. It has been ignored by some of the wealthiest people, some of the poorest people, some of the smartest and some of the most ignorant of people.  We’ve all had better things to do, like ruining the environment, destroying indigenous peoples and their cultures, keeping children from learning their true potential and convincing ourselves how right we are about every little thing.

This is not a particularly appealing message.  Following it doesn’t land us on “Dancing with the Stars” or on the cover of the National Enquirer.  It doesn’t ensure happiness or a job. 

It says, “do a lot of work, find the neediest and don’t just help them, but BE the refuge, BE the treasury, BE the cure.”  It says to be helpers of every victim of oppression.  How will we do this unless we go looking for them?  How can we be patrons (NOTE: not patronizing) of the disadvantaged unless we know who they are?  People don’t wear badges saying “Hi there, my name is: VICTIM OF OPPRESSION.”  We have to know their true names and sit in their kitchens and wash dishes with them. 

It says that aversion, rejection, disdain, hostility and injustice are evidently waiting for us to show up.   Those bad boys have pushed our buttons for a very long time and now we are directed to pay them no never mind. 

You may be thinking you just can’t do that. Remember that death thing?  (i.e. soon will your swiftly passing days be over…)  You’re going to think you can’t do that either.  As it turns out we can all do it.  (As in, we have no choice.)  We can be grand and heroic at the last (truly) and we CAN change the world by following the few simple steps listed above.  And by not giving power to the bad stuff that happens to us personally.  

(here’s the rest of the paragraph…)
Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only. Let each one of God’s loved ones centre his attention on this: to be the Lord’s mercy to man; to be the Lord’s grace. Let him do some good to every person whose path he crosseth, and be of some benefit to him. Let him improve the character of each and all, and reorient the minds of men. In this way, the light of divine guidance will shine forth, and the blessings of God will cradle all mankind: for love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest. O friends of God! That the hidden Mystery may stand revealed, and the secret essence of all things may be disclosed, strive ye to banish that darkness for ever and ever.


  1. Hi, Rhonda,
    We are connected through dearest Ginger who alerted me to this particular post. Happily.

    It is so beautiful. Thank you.

    Hoping we will someday meet in person too.

    Mary Pierce Brosmer

  2. Dear Rhonda,
    We have been over here in Qatar constantly confronted with the wealthiest and poorest individuals everyday (much like America). Everyone has soooo many needs. I just try to take care of what's in front of me. We know so much about the troubles around the world that it is no wonder that there are so many cynics and pessimists. I can see why Abdul Baha challenged us to Be Happy. I think he wants us to be contagiously happy and I am trying. Love, Christy

  3. It IS a finger in the face. It was written by Baha'u'llah to his second, disobedient, son and is indeed a lecture on proper conduct. I have used it exactly that way, myself. (to me as well)