Allan Kardec

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16. Spiritists, today we wish to speak of indulgence, that sweet fraternal sentiment which everyone should harbour towards their fellow creatures, but which in fact is so little used. Indulgence does not see the defects of others, or if it does, it avoids speaking of them or divulging them. On the contrary, it seeks to hide them with the object of becoming the sole possessor of this knowledge, and if malevolence discovers it, then indulgence will always have a ready and plausible excuse. However, we do not mean those excuses which only have the appearance of lessening the failing, while in actual fact making it more evident, with perfidious intention.

Indulgence will never occupy itself with the evil actions of others, unless it is to offer help. But even in this case it will take care to lessen the fault as much as possible. It will never make shocking observations, nor offer censure, but only advise and even then usually in a veiled manner.

When you criticise, what consequences should be deduced from your words? That the one who censures be not guilty of that which is being reproved, so that they may be worth more than the culprit Humanity! When will you judge first your own hearts, thoughts and actions, without occupying yourselves with what your brothers and sisters are doing? When will you have stern eyes only for yourselves?

So then, be severe with yourselves, but indulgent to others. Remind yourself of He Who judges in the last instant, Who sees the innermost movements of each heart, consequently forgiving many times the failings which you censure and often condemning that which you condone because He knows the motive behind all action. Remember also that those who clamour in loud voices for others to be excommunicated, have perhaps themselves committed those very same faults, if not even greater ones.

Therefore my friends, always be indulgent seeing that indulgence attracts the like, calms and uplifts; whereas inclemency only disanimates, drives away all calm and causes irritation. - JOSEPH, a Protecting Spirit (Bordeaux, 1863).

17. Be indulgent with regard to the faults of others whatever these may be. Do not judge with severity any actions but your own. Then the Lord will be indulgent towards you according to the manner in which you have shown it to others.

Uphold the strong, so stimulating them to perseverance. Strengthen the weak by showing them the goodness of God, Who takes into consideration even the smallest degree of repentance. Show to all the Angel of Penitence, stretching out her white wings over the shortcomings of humanity, veiling them from the eyes of He who cannot tolerate that which is impure. Let all understand the infinite mercy of the Father, never forgetting to say to Him, through thought, and above all through actions: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Understand well the meaning of these sublime words, wherein not only is the literal sense admirable, but most of all the teachings enclosed therein.

What is it you ask the Lord for when you implore His pardon? Is it only the oblivion of your offences? An oblivion which would leave you with nothing, if God limited Himself to merely forgetting your shortcomings. It is true that He would not punish, but neither would He offer compensation. A recompense cannot be offered for the good which has not been done, nor even less for the evil which has been done, although this evil may have been forgotten. When you ask God to pardon your transgressions, you are asking for the favour of His grace not to fall into relapse, together with the necessary strength so as to be able to turn into other pathways, like those of submission and love, which should then be joined to those of repentance and reparation.

When you forgive a fellow creature do not be content merely to extend a veil of oblivion across the failings, seeing that in most cases this veil is quite transparent in your eyes. Instead, simultaneously sweep away the failings with forgiveness and love. Do for all your brothers and sisters what you would have the Celestial Father do for you. That is to say, substitute anger which only defiles, with love which purifies. Preach as Jesus taught, by exemplifying active and ceaseless charity. Preach as He did during all the time He remained visible to physical eyes on this planet. Preach as He continues to do unceasingly since He became visible only to the eyes of spirit. Follow this divine Example! Walk in His footsteps, for they will conduct you to a refuge offering rest after the fight. Carry all of your crosses as He did, painfully but with courage, and go up to your Calvary upon whose peak you will find glorification. - JOHN, Bishop of Bordeaux (1862).

18. Dear friends, be severe with yourselves, but ever indulgent with the weaknesses of others. This is the practice of saintly charity; alas, observed by so few! All have evil tendencies to be overcome, defects to correct and bad habits to modify. Everyone has a burden, more or less heavy, which must be got rid of in order to be able to ascend to the summit of the mountain called Progress. Why then have you shown yourself to be so clairvoyant with regard to your neighbour and yet so blind with regard to yourself?

When will you cease to see the small mote which troubles your brother's eye and instead, pay attention to the beam in your own eye, which is blinding you and causing you to go from one fall to another'? Believe what your spiritual brothers are telling you! Every man or woman sufficiently full of pride as to judge themself superior in matters of virtue and merit to their incarnate brothers and sisters, is both foolish and guilty and will therefore suffer castigation by God on their day of judgement. The true character of charity is always modesty and humility, which consists in not seeing the superficial defects of others, but rather in striving to cause their goodness and virtues to predominate. Although the human heart is an abyss of corruption, there too is always the embryo of good sentiments, which are in fact the living sparks of the spiritual essence, hidden away in its innermost folds.

Spiritism! Oh! Blessed doctrine of consolation! Happy are those who know it and take profit from the edifying teachings coming from the Spirits of the Lord! For them the pathway is illuminated and along their way they are able to read these words which will indicate how it is possible to reach the end of their journey. This can only be done by putting charity into practice, meaning charity from the heart, charity to your neighbour and to yourself. In short, charity towards every living creature and above all, love for God, because this summarizes all of mankind's obligations, thus making it impossible to really love God without practising charity, and so He has made it the Law for all creatures. - DUFÊTRE, Bishop of Nevers (Bordeaux).

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