The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think. – Aristotle
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always. – Gandhi
I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole. – Malcolm X
A noble person tells the truth.
Nobility means speaking honestly, no matter what the consequences. Nobility means having the strength of your convictions, and standing by them even in dire circumstances. Nobility means heroism—not just physical bravery, but mental and spiritual courage.
The Baha’i teachings define that kind of inner spiritual strength this way:
To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness, generosity, and courage. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 74.
Honesty, truthfulness and courage—those qualities require more than inner conviction. They require actual doing. This final stage in Abdu’l-Baha’s six-step process for becoming more noble and spiritual calls upon us all to translate our ideals and thoughts and beliefs into real, truthful action. This real action, Abdu’l-Baha advised the Baha’is, must always go beyond thoughts, aspirations and words:
All over the world one hears beautiful sayings extolled and noble precepts admired. All men say they love what is good, and hate everything that is evil! Sincerity is to be admired, whilst lying is despicable. Faith is a virtue, and treachery is a disgrace to humanity. It is a blessed thing to gladden the hearts of men, and wrong to be the cause of pain. To be kind and merciful is right, while to hate is sinful. Justice is a noble quality and injustice an iniquity. That it is one’s duty to be pitiful and harm no one, and to avoid jealousy and malice at all costs. Wisdom is the glory of man, not ignorance; light, not darkness! It is a good thing to turn one’s face toward God, and foolishness to ignore Him. That it is our duty to guide man upward, and not to mislead him and be the cause of his downfall. There are many more examples like unto these.
But all these sayings are but words and we see very few of them carried into the world of action. On the contrary, we perceive that men are carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort, while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all.
Unhappily this is the road most men tread.
But Baha’is must not be thus; they must rise above this condition. Actions must be more to them than words. By their actions they must be merciful and not merely by their words. They must on all occasions confirm by their actions what they proclaim in words. Their deeds must prove their fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine light.
When truth becomes your guide and your commitment, your spirit will flourish:
In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit, nothing so essential as the spirit of man. The spirit of man is the most noble of phenomena. The spirit of man is the meeting between man and God. The spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all human virtues. The spirit of man is the cause of the illumination of this world. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 239.
Next: Achieving Humanity’s Noble Destiny