The truly wise man or woman will recognize no one as an enemy. Occasionally we hear the expression, "Never mind; I’ll get even with him." Will you? And how will you do it? You can do it in one of two ways. You can, as you have in mind, deal with him as he deals, or apparently deals, with you pay him, as we say, in his own coin. If you do this you will get even with him by sinking yourself to his level, and both of you will suffer by it. Or you can show yourself the larger, you can send him love for hatred, kindness for ill-treatment, and so get even with him by raising him to the higher level. But remember that you can never help another without, by that very act, helping yourself; and if forgetful of self, then in most all cases the value to you is greater than the service you render another. If you are ready to treat him as he treats you, then you show clearly that there is in you that which draws the hatred and ill-treatment to you; you deserve what you are getting and should not complain, nor would you complain if you were wise. By following the other course you most effectually accomplish your purpose—you gain a victory for yourself, and, at the same time, you do a great service for him, for which it is evident he stands greatly in need. We need more gentleness, and sympathy, and compassion in our common human life. Then we will neither blame nor condemn. Instead of blaming or condemning we will sympathize. When we come fully to realize the great fact that all evil, and error, and sin, with all their consequent sufferings, come through ignorance, then, wherever we see a manifestation of these, in whatever form, if our hearts are right, we will have compassion for the one in whom we see them. Compassion will then change itself into love, and love will manifest itself in kindly service. Such is the divine method. And so, instead of aiding in trampling and keeping a weaker one down, we will hold him up until he can stand alone and become the master. But all life-growth is from within, and one becomes a true master in the degree that the knowledge of the divinity of his own, nature dawns upon his inner consciousness and so brings him to a knowledge of the higher laws; and in no way can we so effectually hasten this dawning in the inner consciousness of another as by showing forth the divinity within ourselves by the way we live.
By example and not by precept. By living, not by preaching. By doing, not by professing. By living the life, not by dogmatizing as to how it should be lived. There is no contagion equal to the contagion of life. Whatever we sow, that shall we also reap, and each thing sown produces its own kind. We can kill not only by doing another bodily injury direct, but we can and we do kill by every antagonistic thought. Not only do we thus kill, but while we kill we suicide. Put hatred into the world and we make it a literal hell.
Put love into the world and heaven with all its beauties becomes a reality. Not to love is not to live, or it is to live a living death. That life that goes out in love to all is the life that is full, and rich, and continually expanding in beauty and in power.
This chapter is selected from In Tune with the Infinite.
More from Ralph Waldo Trine
- Lived from September 6th, 1866 to February, 22nd 1958
- Born in Mt. Morris, Illinois
- Most popular book is In Tune With the Infinite
- Was an early leader in the New Thought movement.