This is a tricky and important subject. Anybody who does not live the life of a monk with a vow of silence tucked away in a mountain convent, knows about strife, about accusation, censure, critique, and criticism. It is a dear friend who shared with me this insight:
People will only accuse you of their own mistakes.
What an observation! I wish I had known this for years. But now I do. Once you know its truth and embrace the embedded potential for progress, you understand much better the fabric of conflict. At least I do. Of course, it is easier to see the mistakes of others rather than confront our own shortcomings. The entire Sermon on the Mount deals with this question, in a way. This is one side. The other is how to stay calm when being criticized unjustly. And how to accept legitimate complaint as such without arguing. Mary Baker Eddy doesn't mince words when putting her own version of Jesus' advice about the mote in our brother's eye and the beam in our own eye (see Matthew 7: 3-5) into writing:
If a man is jealous, envious, or revengeful, he will seek occasion to balloon an atom of another man's indis‐
So: People will only accuse you of their own mistakes. And if we are being manipulated into accusing others, we have a problem. We can learn to see how the urge to criticize others is melting away as the willingness to grow ourselves is deepened. It keeps us busy 24/7, this grand "warfare with one's self", Mary Baker Eddy mentions in an address to the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in 1893 (quoted in Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118). Accusing others is like using a lens - a magnifier, a camera. Use the lens of your mental camera and turn it to the hidden potential, to the soft and fluffy side of all of us, to the goodness waiting to come forward. And take a picture. In the end, we are like the two rabbits - in need of much stroking. So in this sense, this insight is a caress: "People will only accuse you of their own mistakes."
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and as a writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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