182. Demanding Forgiveness

Teach me to behold myself in others. As I try to explain away my own faults to myself or, if I correct myself, I do so silently, so teach me, Lord, to accept, understand, and forgive others, and (sometimes only) quietly to suggest to them how they might correct a fault if they so wish.

Through kindly tolerance, while shunning the blind brutality of impatient egos, let me lead all stumbling ones, stubborn in their erring, to Thee.

Help me to see that Thy light shines equally everywhere: on good, diamond‐bright souls and as much so on coal‐black, evil beings. Guide my understanding and invigorate my powers, that I may transform darkened, hate filled minds into sparkling gems which fully reflect Thy impartial wisdom rays.

Long ago didst Thou wipe away the soot of desire and indifference covering my own soul. Long, now, has it shone with Thy light. I discovered, wonderingly, that I had always been Thy child.

Enable me now to wash all souls clean with Thy love: to see and treat even dark souls as Thy children also, and as my very own sleeping brothers. Thy light hides within the most gloom‐shrouded soul, waiting to be revealed and appreciated by all at last. They themselves can bring out their hidden splendor by self‐effort and by the good company of those who are seeking Thy ways.

Whenever I meet such a self‐punishing soul-brother, help me to treat him softly, with patience.

Make me ever ready to help all those truth‐repudiating souls who now wish to be awakened.

For Thou givest even to the condemned murderer a fresh chance to be better, in a new and unknown body, perhaps in a new environment, with new influences to mold him. Even so, teach us to offer shelter, in the haven of our forgiveness, to the world‐forsaken. O Spirit! may the sunshine of our love, which comes from Thee, dispel the chill from all error‐frozen souls!

Thou dost eagerly wait to reveal Thyself to entire worlds, if they want to emerge from the sea of wrong‐doing. Thy silence before those error‐steeped worlds demonstrates Thy patience and Thy ever‐proffered forgiveness. Teach us not to deny the sweetness of help even to those persons who try us bitterly with wounding words, or even with blows. Without any expectation of them whatsoever, let us help others to help themselves. In the meantime let us ever forgive them, even those who turn against us because we, respecting their free will, have ceased to help them.

Teach us to forgive even those who most offend us — forgiving them inwardly, first, and then, as we find them receptive, forgiving them outwardly. Help us to scatter fragrant flower‐petals of forgiveness, and return sweet speech for every sour word, smiling love for all hatred, heartfelt kindness for people’s anger, and brotherly or sisterly goodness for every injury. May we feel that even the most inky‐dark soul is immortal — that he is only dreaming imperfection. Inspire us to awaken him with divine forgiveness to the consciousness of his eternal, celestial son-hood, of his inherent purity, and of the deathlessness of his soul.

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183. Cutting Through the Cocoon of Ignorance