Keep in Mind

When someone seems to have injured you:

But how can I be sure?

And in any case, keep in mind:

  • That he’s already been tried and convicted – by himself. (Like scratching your own eyes out.)
  • That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh – the inevitable not to happen.

What else could they do – with that sort of character?

If you’re still angry, get to work on that.” – Marcus Aurelius

I’ve observed over the years that judgment triggers a cascade of emotions which impair the capacity for reason. Anger, resentment or the desire to avenge the wrong often surge forth when the door is opened by judgment. Once flowing, they can be terribly difficult to subdue.

The Mayo Clinic offered a fresh perspective on this matter in the lifestyle section of their website. While I’m not sure that the Greek and Roman philosophers (with their distrust of feeling) would agree with the Mayo Clinic’s emphasis on compassion, the power of forgiveness is hard to dismiss, even to the most hardened intellectual.

You do not need to define yourself by the hurts you’ve suffered along the way. To do so is to fail to keep in mind Marcus Aurelius’ sage counsel on the matter. Remember, people judge themselves, so don’t let your surprise or disappointment lead you by the nose into judgment!

4 thoughts on “Keep in Mind

  1. David R

    I suppose it is one thing to discover the unkindness of the world initially, but perhaps it is another to continue to be dismayed without applying good sense and discretion. As the snake said to the bitten associate, “You knew I was a snake when you picked me up.” We seldom need to pick up snakes, and if we do, the right equipment is a good idea!


  2. Strawberryfield

    Forgiveness is the most natural of all the healing remedies. I’ve always thought that if forgiveness had become as commonplace as resentment we probably wouldn’t have the constant question of “Should we go to war?” on our minds. The Mayo Clinic is giving the only advice that makes sense. If we want a healthy world this is the place to start!


  3. Joy

    So many people define themselves by the hurts they’ve received, what wonderful council you offer Gregg, to let all hurts recede and be replaced by deep gratitude for the abundant blessings we’ve each received. I think it’s true what the Mayo Clinic article expressed, that once you forgive you find that understanding and compassion are a natural result. On that basis everyone’s future is changed.


  4. DeeDee Miller

    Those are very useful questions on the Mayo Clinic link. I think compassion is the one means by which the untruths in the world can be constructively worked with. It is the secret weapon in our free will arsenal (:


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