A Jew, An Arab and A Woman
Compendium Quotes #2
1-Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. -A Jew, 1st century.
2-For it is incomparably more for our soul's welfare to shut the recesses of the heart against anger, even when it knocks with a just claim for admission, than to admit that which it will be most difficult to expel, and which will rapidly grow from a mere sapling to a strong tree. -An Arab, 397.
3-It is a law of the spiritual life that every act of trust makes the next one less difficult, until, at length, if these acts are persisted in, trusting becomes like breathing, the natural unconscious effort of the redeemed soul. -An American woman influenced by both the Arab and the Jew quoted above, 1875.
Which quote(s) stood out to you on first reading? What caught your attention? See below for more information about each.
1-This Jewish man could be the most famous person to live on the planet. Five of his speeches changed history. He’s at the center of the largest global religion. He’s also found in the holy books of the second-largest world religion and has a place of honor in the third. Even John Lennon used him to measure the Beatles’ success at the height of their fame. When Jesus speaks people listen. His words challenge us today.
This particular saying of Jesus seems to come from a different world. How do we possibly live without judging? We judge to protect ourselves, to protect others, to feel good about ourselves, and to win. But Jesus describes judgment as a kind of self-imposed limitation. The way we judge others will decide how we ourselves are judged. How can we possibly live in this world without judging others?
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Jesus combines three unusual ideas:
he assumes that none of us have the objectivity to judge properly.
he assumes that we all need to be forgiven.
he believes that the forgiveness we need is within our grasp.
All three of these ideas come together in his practical application. We should redirect the energy we spend judging others to correcting our own shortcomings. This is the way we protect ourselves. This is the way we can actually be of benefit to others.
2-The second quote comes three centuries later. A North African Berber sits down to write a letter to a fellow Christian bishop in the Roman Empire. He completes the letter, puts his pen down and we have our quote; some very practical advice for our spiritual journey. Augustine of Hippo would later write The Confessions, considered by many to be the first memoir, and The City of God considered by others to be the first magnum opus of Christian philosophy. Though putting pen to paper more than 1,900 years ago his writings are readily available in multiple languages today.
The quotes from Jesus and Augustine warn us of paths to avoid in our spiritual journey. Our third quote tells us how progress in that journey is actually made.
3-She lived 1,500 years later than Augustine and more than 6,000 miles away. When she was born Jesus’ homeland had been under the Ottoman Empire for more than 300 years. Augustine’s Hippo was known as Bône under French colonial rule. Her homeland was less than 100 years old, having broken free of the British Empire in 1776.
Hannah Whitall Smith grew up in a Quaker family in the United States. During her lifetime she was a supporter of women’s suffrage. But she was best known as a speaker and author among Christians who longed to go deeper in their spiritual journey. In 1875 she wrote a book which includes our quote. “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” has sold more than 10,000,000 copies and continues to be published and read today.
In the comments below, tell us which quote you found the most intriguing. Also, share why it caught your attention.
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