“No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person’s enemies say about him.” ~ Napoleon Hill
One of the challenges I face as a manager is to deal with the occasional tiffs that come up between people in relation to details at work. While “enemy” is a strong term in this context (co-workers are rarely true enemies), tempers can flare in relation to the smallest of details…even between those who would call themselves friends.
Dealing with these quarrels over time has taught me an important lesson, namely, that it is never wise to judge a person based on what his enemies say about him. Such an approach is no different than the one taken by those who frivolously form their opinions on celebrities by reading the tabloids at the supermarket. It is a decidedly superficial approach to living, one that substitutes hearsay for the truth and ignorant prejudice for the benefit of the doubt.
I’ve found that it is much better to treat others with honest skepticism, to get to know them for myself, than to blindly trust the opinions of others. I would hope that they would accord me the same respect, wouldn’t you?
Ironically, you can tell a lot about a person by the enemies he has made. Some of the most influential people who have ever lived had some of the fiercest enemies and bitterest critics. If you think of the treatment accorded Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet Muhammad, Galileo Galilei or even Martin Luther King, Jr., it is clear that representing a higher standard and devoting your life to the pursuit if, not the revelation, of truth is a sure way to make vociferous and at times violent enemies in the world the way it is (and has been for some time).
Impeccable living has a way of drawing the line in the sand. It causes those wedded to mediocrity to either renew their vows or petition for a divorce, depending on their state of mind and heart. It intensifies the discomfort of sitting on the fence and makes those who serve two masters realize that they must give themselves fully to either the one they love or the one they hate. The choice is never forced; it is made according to the tenets of free will.
You have a choice.
“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” ~ Franklin Roosevelt