THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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937. Is the disappointment that leads to ingratitude and the fragility of friendship another source of bitterness for the human heart?
“Yes, but we teach you to feel pity for the ungrateful and faithless friends as they are more unhappy than you. Ingratitude comes from selfishness and people who are selfish, eventually, meet hearts as callous as their own. Think of all those who have done more good than you, who are more worthy than you are, and whose kindnesses were paid with ingratitude. Remember that, in his life, Jesus was ridiculed, despised and treated as both a criminal and a fraud; you should not be shocked if you are treated in the same way. The knowledge that you have done good should be your reward in your present life, and do not worry about what people who have benefited from it say. Ingratitude tests your persistence in doing good. It counts in your favor, in the future, and those who have ignored your kindness will be punished. The greater their ingratitude, the more severe the atonement.”


938. Are the disappointments that ingratitude causes meant to harden the heart and turn it callous and insensitive?
“That is wrong, because virtuous people are always happy to do good for others. They know that, if those they have helped do not recognize their kindness in this life, they will in a future one, and they will then feel shame and remorse for their ingratitude.”


a) However, this knowledge does not prevent them from being hurt by ingratitude in this life. Could this pain lead them to think that they would be happier if they were less sensitive?
“Yes, if they prefer selfish happiness. Still, this sort of happiness is very pitiful. People must try to understand that the ungrateful friends who desert them are unworthy of their friendship, and that they are mistaken in their thoughts of them. They should no longer regret the loss of these friends. Other friends, who are better able to understand the motivation behind their acts of good will, will take their place. You should pity those from whom you have received poor treatment, which you did not deserve, because they will receive severe retribution. You should not allow yourselves to be upset by their bad behavior. Your ability to remain unaffected by their ill-treatment places you above them.”


Nature has given human beings the need to love and be loved. One of the greatest joys given to them on Earth is meeting like-minded hearts. This sympathy gives them a taste of the happiness that awaits them in the world of perfect spirits, where love and kindness reign. This type of happiness is denied to the selfish.

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