”I care not what you believe; not one atom do I care; the one important thing for me to know is this – that you are entitled to my compassionate consideration; you are entitled to my respect; you are entitled to my applause for all that you do that is in the right direction. You are entitled to my kindest wishes, to my deepest encouragement; and you are entitled to nothing from me but that which means love and charity and loving kindness, and you must not get anything else from me.” – Edward A. Kimball
I came upon the above quote this morning as I was looking through Kimball’s book, Lectures and Articles on Christian Science, and felt it immediately resonate with me. Kimball’s words ring true, for me, on so many levels.
How many times have discussions about our beliefs led to a place that is the exact opposite of what we espouse to believe? “I believe that God is love,” we might say, and then find ourselves getting all worked up and angry and unloving when someone disagrees with us about our concepts of “God” and “love.”
I don’t think our beliefs and opinions about stuff are important. I think it’s what we DO with those beliefs and opinions that’s important. If our beliefs – whatever they are – lead us to be kinder, gentler and more loving – if our beliefs lead us to express integrity and wisdom in our lives – then they’re cool. If we allow our beliefs to lead us the opposite direction – towards anger, hate, bigotry, and condemnation – that is not so cool.
In Prose Works, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…”
And to this, I say “Amen.”
There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong. – Hindu proverb