THE PHARISEE UP-TO-DATE.
As long as you continue to hug the delusion that you are "not to blame" for the unpleasant things in your conditions you might just as well profess the old thought as the new. The very fundamental principle of mental science is the statement that man is a magnet and able to attract what he will. To repudiate this statement is to knock the props out from under the whole philosophy. Better stay an old-thoughter and let Jesus suffer for your sins and those of your relatives and friends. At least Jesus took the sins of the world to bear, all of his own free will. There is some comfort in letting Jesus do what he chose to do.
But you have turned away from Jesus as a scapegoat. You refuse to lay your burdens on him who offered to bear them; and you refuse to bear them yourself. Instead you distribute them around among your relations and friends and then fret your soul because they won't accept your distributions. Of course you excuse yourself by acknowledging "your share of responsibility" for the unpleasantness of conditions, but if you will examine carefully you will find that your portion of the responsibility includes most of the good things in your conditions, whilst you have portioned off almost all the responsibility for the bad things among your protesting--or indifferent--relatives. You always say, "I try so hard," but you never balance that with, "He tries so hard,"--"They try so hard." You get all the I-try-items in your own pile and the don't-try-items in other folk's piles. "If it were not for Tom and Dick and Harry and Fan you would do wonders--if they'd only treat you with half the consideration other people give you, or half they give other people!--if!--if!"
I wonder why they don't indeed! It is just because you are you, and you attract your own particular kind of treatment. To all intents and purposes Tom, Dick, Harry and Fan are a punch and Judy show and you pull the strings. When other people pull the strings there's a different sort of show. YOU are the motive power in all their treatment of you. Not a tone or look or act of theirs in your direction but you are responsible for; it was you and no other who drew them to you; and it is you and no other who hold them there.
Now don't say, "I don't see how!" Of course not --you haven't wanted to see how--you've been too intent justifying yourself. And anyway, it takes an open mind, and some time, and much faith to enable us to see the principles of things. We have to act as if they were so, a long time before we see that they are. If you had acted upon the principle that you are a magnet and that all that comes to you comes by your attraction, you'd have long ago had your eyes opened to "see how." And you'd have made progress and changed your conditions.
If you are ever going to be a magnet you are one now. If you are ever going to be able to attract to the hair's breadth whatsoever you will then you are doing it now. There will be no miraculous change in the running gear of this universe to enable you to attract what you want.
What you now are in essence and working principle you have always been, and you will always be--the same yesterday, today and forever--a self-made MAGNET, working to the hair's breadth.
ONLY BY CHANGING THE QUALITY OF YOUR MAGNETISM CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND ATTRACT DIFFERENT TREATMENT FROM TOM, DICK, HARRY AND FAN.
Sweetness within brings sweetness without. You have been more or less bitter and self-justifying within, and Tom, Dick, Harry and Fan have danced to the strings you pulled.
As long as you think you try and they don't; as long as you think your judgment superior to theirs; your ideals loftier and worthier; your ways better; you will get from them responses of carelessness, bitterness, lack of consideration, selfishness.
You are inconsiderate of their ideas, ideals, judgments and ways; in self-preservation they are inconsiderate of yours. If you had your way they'd be pretty little putty images of your ideals, judgments, wishes, ways and feelings. The Law of Individuality prevents your imposing yourself on them. You think you are finding fault with their "lack of consideration"; you are really condemning the law of being.
If you are ever to be a magnet you are one NOW. All that comes is "your fault." If anything different comes it will come through your change of mental attitude and action.
It will not do to throw it on "Karma" either, and say you are receiving now the unpleasant things deserved in a previous state of existence. The mills of the gods grind slowly but they are not so dead slow as all that. What you thought and did in a previous state has determined your parentage and childhood environment in this. But the pangs you suffer today have their roots in yesterday or day before, or the year before that. Cause and effect trip close upon each other's heels--so close that the careless or ignorant observer misses the trip. He exaggerates the effect if it be an unhappy one, and goes nosing for a bigger cause than the real one. How could his little slip of this morning, or yesterday, be the cause of this terrible evil which has befallen him?--and he slides completely over the real cause. And keeps on repeating it.
Self-righteousness, by blinding your eyes to the truth, is the direct cause of the most gigantic and the most subtle miseries of the world. These awfully good people who fully realize how hard they have always tried to do right, are the unhappiest people in the world--unless I except Tom, Dick, Harry and Fan, the victims of these self-righteous reformers. No, I can't even except these; for they at least generally succeed in having their own way in spite of the would-be reformer. But what so utterly disheartening as continued lack of success? And the self-righteous one never succeeds. It is hard, hard, to be so wise and willing, with such high ideals (the self-righteous one is strong on ideals), and never to succeed in making Tom, Dick and Harry conform to them. Do you see why Jesus said so often, "Woe comes to the Pharisee" --the self-righteous? And why he called them hypocrites? Of course they are unconsicous of their hypocrisy--self-righteousness blinds them to the truth; they think others are to blame for most of the self-righteous one's own hard conditions.
The self-righteous one is doomed to a tread-mill of petty failures. He goes round and round his own little personal point of view and learns nothing.
It is by getting at the other fellow's point of view that we learn things--about him and ourselves, too. When the self-righteous one wakes up to the fact that the world is full of people whose points of view are just exactly as right and wise and ideal as his own; and begins to feel with, and PULL WITH these other people, instead of against them; when he does this he will find himself out of the treadmill to stay. As he shows a disposition to consider other people's ideals and help others in the line they want to go, he will find the whole world eager to help him in the way he wants to go. The self-righteous one works alone and meets defeat. The one who, recognizing his own righteousness in intent, yet forgets not that others are even as he, is the true friend and be-friended, of all the world.
Now don't let this homily slip off your shoulders. We are all self-righteous in spots, and none of us is so very wise that he cannot by self-examination and readjustment learn a lot more.
Each soul in its place is wisest and best. Don't you try to get into the pilot house and steer things for Tom, Dick, or Harry. Stay in your own and steer clear of the rocks of anger, malice, revenge, resentment, re-sistance, INTERFERENCE and immoderation.