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How can we seek justice, when the injustices in this world are enforced by material power? How do we find the justice of God in the battlefield of society?
I sought the answer to those questions when I looked into the differences between how the world judges things and how the Creator judges.
If we ponder the meaning of God’s teachings shared by all the great Faiths, we will discover that they consistently ask us to fight against the human tendency to seek excessive self-interest, the result of the wrong mindset in the human world.
Historically, this kind of self-serving self-interest has driven nations to occupy and colonize the territory of others. Fighting for territory, resources, and markets has caused many of the environmental issues and the wars throughout human history. That territorialism can also be manifest in invisible ways, such as the battles between political philosophies or religious sects and branches. This kind of conflict invariably comes from personal self-interest and limited understanding.
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To see the oneness of humanity, we need to remove all prejudices – those unjustly colonized territories in our consciousness. But the root of prejudice is the mindset of self-interest, which all of God’s religions, including the Baha’i teachings, counsel us to conquer. For example, in The Hidden Words, Baha’u’llah wrote:
O Son of Man! Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it. Thou thinkest thyself rich in its possession, and I recognize thy wealth in thy sanctity therefrom. By My life! This is My knowledge, and that is thy fancy; how can My way accord with thine?
This leads to many important questions: what is the difference between the values of the world and of the Kingdom of God? What is the difference between success as defined by humans and perfection in the teachings of God? What happens in the process of material success and in the process toward spiritual perfection?
In one case people step on top of each other, and in the other case they support each other. From here, we can see the differences of mindset if we seek to be near to God or move away from God. With different mindsets, our life moves toward different results, either toward the world to come or toward the material world.
All of this revolves around establishing a selfish or selfless orientation in life – which allows us to be clearer about where we are from the standpoint of justice in the human world. In the physical realm, everything is recognized by physical phenomena. Justice in society is judged based on human behavior. But in the spiritual realm, God judges by the human heart. We can’t understand our own behavior without knowing our mindset, and we can’t change behavior without re-orienting this mindset through spiritual education.
In the human world those in authority tend to ask people to change their behavior or face consequences based on their behavior – but the Divine teachers help humankind understand their own spiritual reality.
By understanding the power of the mind and adjusting their mindsets, people can discover their own capacities and act righteously. God’s justice also offers us His loving-kindness to guide us to the right path. To understand true justice, we seek to understand God’s teachings, and learn more about the human heart. We also need to develop our insight and sharpen our spiritual perception in order to understand a more spiritual reality.
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We can do all that with prayer and meditation, which helps us become more familiar with our own spiritual perceptions and lead us to a better understanding of true justice. Baha’u’llah said: “Consume the egotistical veils with the fire of oneness, sincerely for the sake of God.” He also wrote:
Sharp must be thy sight … and adamant thy soul, and brass-like thy feet, if thou wishest to be unshaken by the assaults of the selfish desires that whisper in men’s breasts. This is the firm injunction which the Pen of the Most Great Name hath, by virtue of the Will of the Ancient King, been moved to reveal. Keep it as the apple of thine eye, and be thou of the thankful.
This tells us that our egotism – our “selfish desires” – can create barriers between people, stopping us from feeling how others feel and impeding our empathy. To gain the Baha’i vision of oneness, we must remove the veils of egotism. The Baha’i teachings affirm that true justice can’t be reached without detachment from self. Baha’u’llah said:
We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.
Each human being has the responsibility, and the privilege, to help heal humanity. When we improve the spiritual condition of our own hearts, and orient our hearts to the higher spiritual reality, the justice of the Kingdom of God will gradually become more and more visible.
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