62. Your Right to be Wrong
Updated: Sep 9
What do I do when someone makes a decision I don't approve of, or expresses an idea I don't agree with? Or when they say or do something that hurts me?
Take ye good heed in your night lest ye be a cause of sadness to any soul...Indeed on no account should ye sadden any person; surely God will put him to the proof and bring him to account. -- The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Báb -5-
So it's not my job to point out the short comings of others, to reprove or punish them, unless I'm in a special role of responsibility. Faultfinding is God's business.
The good news is that it's OK to 'stuff things up', to mess up and do things incorrectly. In fact at one time or another we will all find ourselves in that situation. It's called being human. And those mistakes show us where we need to make changes in our understanding and then in our actions.
Even so, there is a limit to how much responsibility we can take. It's a part of life that 'stuff happens'. However;....
"...we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens without a reason."... https://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PUP/pup-19.html.utf8?qu…
“Nothing hath ever happened nor will happen without a cause or effect.”—Bahá’u’lláh (Fire and Light, p.10)
A writer for onebahai.blogspot.com expressed our right to be wrong;
"There are many times when friends of mine do things that I would not consider doing. Sometimes it's investing in a particular property, or taking a particular job. Oftentimes I feel like I'm watching a slow-motion train wreck, and I truly feel sorry for them. But I realize that it is their life. It is their choice. I offer counsel or guidance, point out certain things that I think are wrong, but, in the end, I know it is their choice, not mine.
Of course, this doesn't apply to children in the same way. There were many times in my life where I stopped a child from doing something harmful. After all, they are children and need to learn.
But when an adult makes a decision like taking a drink or marrying a particular person, it really is their choice, and I need to respect that.
There are even times when their decision will hurt me. And you know what? That's ok, too. They can make their decision. They will have to live with it, and the consequences. And I will make my decision, too. This is the bounty, and the curse, of free will.
No matter what they choose, I have to respect their God-given right to free will. I may not respect the decision they choose, but I have to honour their right to that choice."
There is a consequence to every action. We have a responsibility for doing our best to determine that a consequence is positive. Our reliance on prayer, meditation and consultation are key factors that will affect the result. Will it be proved helpful or harmful? Will it heal or hurt?
Our response is hugely important. Are we going to pray for that person and, perhaps in consultation, help them find another path, or are we going to withdraw, judge and condemn them?
Although we must avoid the greatest sin of backbiting, if we find the middle path there is a great value in seeking the assistance of others, in a spirit of consultation, prayer and meditation:
"When a sufficient number of people pray or meditate together, or find another path to evolve their consciousness, other people are affected as well. More sick people heal, divorce and suicide rates drop, crime and violence diminish. When many people open up, a powerful force develops — a leap of consciousness takes place. All the great prophets and sages of history knew this, Jesus as well as the Buddha, Mohammed as well as Zoroaster - and more recently Bahá'u'lláh - the same as Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin and the Dalai Lama.”
Ultimately we can rest in the assurance of Abdul-Baha that negativity shown towards us by others will pass:
O thou who art attracted toward the Kingdom!
Be thou not unhappy; the tempest of sorrow shall pass; regret will not last; disappointment will vanish; the fire of the love of God will become enkindled, and the thorns and briars of sadness and despondency will be consumed! Be thou happy; rest thou assured upon the favors of Baha’, so that uncertainty and hesitation may become non-existent and the invisible outpourings descend upon the arena of being!
If thou art seeking after spiritual tranquility, turn thy face at all times toward the Kingdom of Abha. If thou art desiring divine joy, free thyself from the bands of attachment. If thou art wishing for the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, become thou engaged in teaching the Cause of God.
---Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, p 730
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