“In this wondrous age, however, praised be God, the commandments of God are not delimited, not restricted to any one group of people, rather have all the friends been commanded to show forth fellowship and love, consideration and generosity and loving-kindness to every community on earth. Now must the lovers of God arise to carry out these instructions of His: let them be kindly fathers to the children of the human race, and compassionate brothers to the youth, and self-denying offspring to those bent with years. The meaning of this is that ye must show forth tenderness and love to every human being, even to your enemies, and welcome them all with unalloyed friendship, good cheer, and loving-kindness. When ye meet with cruelty and persecution at another’s hands, keep faith with him; when malevolence is directed your way, respond with a friendly heart. To the spears and arrows rained upon you, expose your breasts for a target mirror-bright; and in return for curses, taunts and wounding words, show forth abounding love. Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.”
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 20)
To carry out these instructions in practice is our struggle, our daily test. And it is so easy to fall into the traps of our lower nature, which urge us to fight, to treat others with disrespect, cruelty, and even hatred. It is an active process, something we must pay attention to and guard our behavior.
I have been so blessed in my life to be surrounded by individuals who manifest the positive qualities listed above. It saddens me to leave the ones that I have served with at the Baha’i World Centre, but I am so, so happy that I have had the opportunity to meet them, if only for a fleeting moment in eternity.