PRACTICAL STEPS FOR CHRISTIANS TO HELP IN CREATING A HAPPY HOME
Loving the way God loves
Gracious Angel of the fireside, whom I first summoned to my aid when I wished to diffuse happiness in my family, it is not thy charms that I desire to describe, but thy counsels that I wish to make known.
Approach the loving heart, so sensitive and so delicate that the least neglect, the smallest inconsiderate word will wound and rend; come and strengthen it by the sweetness of thy teachings.
Indulgence is even more than kindness. It anticipates it without doubt, but it adds to that virtue a great strength of character, a powerful affection, an habitual innocence; the art of being indulgent is the offspring of a pure soul.
The art of being indulgent is the offspring of a pure soul
Those who have no heart do not understand indulgence.
Persons of little intelligence believe that indulgence is culpable.
Those who are not at peace with their own conscience are often led to excessive rigour. The overlooking of nothing in others is often a proof that we overlook very much in ourselves.
Indulgence is more than pardon
Indulgence is even more than pardon, it is excusing; it is the seeking of a favourable interpretation for everything; it is, above all, the faculty of never showing that such and such a thing has wounded us.
Indulgence is remarking of the person who has wounded us: “She did not reflect, otherwise she would not have done it; she did not intend to cause me pain, she loves me too much to do so; she could not do otherwise, and perhaps she is suffering because she thinks she has displeased me.” There is no more efficacious balm for wounds of the heart than the excuses which we make for those who have offended us.
“Today I will be stronger than yesterday”
To be indulgent is to forget every evening the contradictions which we have borne during the day, and to say to ourselves each morning: “Today I will be stronger and more calm than yesterday.”
Indulgence goes so far as to make us accuse ourselves inwardly for not having been sufficiently kind, affable, or charitable. To be indulgent is not only to accept the excuses which are made to us, but to anticipate those who timidly come to us in order to ask pardon.
How do we punish those who overstep the mark, though?
Then we should never punish?
Yes,… by loving still more!
The penal code of the fireside may be almost entirely summed up in the above words.
“As long as you love me”
“You will never believe me wicked,” said a young man to his sister, whom he frequently pained by his misconduct, and who always excused him.
“No,” she replied, “not as long as you love me…. Would you always give me pain?”
Nothing preserves affection in the heart like the indulgence with which we surround it, and, whilst affection lasts, it will eventually make the heart good.
A very good influence on those around you eventually “rubs off”
When we are young, we do not know how to be indulgent, for we cannot sufficiently understand human weakness. Oh! if we but knew the terrible struggles which take place in the soul of the friend who wounds us by the frivolity of his character, who irritates us by his forwardness, who sometimes even scandalises us by his faults… Oh! if we could but see him weep, if we could see how vexed he is with himself, perhaps on our account, how we would pity him.
Let us love him and excuse him; but let him not know that we know of his weakness.
Act so that someone else may believe that he is good, thus we help him to become good almost in spite of himself.
– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889