Friday, July 18, 2014

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 1, Chapter 16: Of bearing with the faults of others

Of bearing with the faults of others

Those things which a man cannot amend in himself or in others, he
ought patiently to bear, until God shall otherwise ordain.
Bethink thee that perhaps it is better for thy trial and
patience, without which our merits are but little worth.
Nevertheless thou oughtest, when thou findeth such impediments,
to beseech God that He would vouchsafe to sustain thee, that thou
be able to bear them with a good will.
If one who is once or twice admonished refuse to hearken,
strive not with him, but commit all to God, that His will may be
done and His honour be shown in His servants, for He knoweth well
how to convert the evil unto good.  Endeavour to be patient in
bearing with other men’s faults and infirmities whatsoever they
be, for thou thyself also hast many things which have need to be
borne with by others.  If thou canst not make thine own self what
thou desireth, how shalt thou be able to fashion another to thine
own liking?  We are ready to see others made perfect, and yet we
do not amend our own shortcomings.
We will that others be straitly corrected, but we will not be
corrected ourselves.  The freedom of others displeaseth us, but
we are dissatisfied that our own wishes shall be denied us.  We
desire rules to be made restraining others, but by no means will
we suffer ourselves to be restrained.  Thus therefore doth it
plainly appear how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same
balance with ourselves. If all men were perfect, what then should
we have to suffer from others for God?
But now hath God thus ordained, that we may learn to bear one
another’s burdens, because none is without defect, none without a
burden, none sufficient of himself, none wise enough of himself;
but it behooveth us to bear with one another, to comfort one
another, to help, instruct, admonish one another.  How much
strength each man hath is best proved by occasions of adversity:
for such occasions do not make a man frail, but show of what
temper he is.

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