“O son of being! Love Me, that I may love thee.” ~ Baha’u’llah
At first glance, being a Baha’i may seem to make life more complicated, more challenging, more trying, and more involved. When one accepts the Baha’i Faith, one can feel more committed, more responsible, and more invested in what happens to the world around us.
There are as many reasons to join the Baha’i Faith as there are Baha’is in the world. Everyone who investigates this Message must decide for him or herself whether it is right and true, and whether they want to be a part of it. Everyone who investigates this Faith has a journey that they are on. They all have a unique story to play out in this world. Some must learn to separate the truth from the power of the status quo, much as the first Jews separated Moses’ teachings from Pharaoh’s power and accepted the truth He brought. Some must break with ancient religious traditions that are as old as history itself, much as the first Christians did when they turned from generations of polytheistic beliefs. Some learn to open their minds to new interpretations of Holy Books that have been studied by countless scholars, much as Christ brought a new interpretation of the Old Testament in the Bible that the Jewish scholars could not accept.
Some have never known a religion. They sometimes cannot even sit in an empty room and reach out in the seeming nothingness in prayer. For them, the very concept of God may be a challenge that must be overcome. Baha’is believe they must learn to accept something bigger in their lives in order to become something more in themselves. Baha’is believe that until we realize the Creator’s purpose for us, we cannot truly know our own selves. As Baha’u’llah wrote, “O son of being! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.” (HW). Some do not like religion at all. They must overcome deep prejudices against religion in order to see the beauty and hope that the Baha’i Faith offers.
Some look in at our Baha’i community and see that Baha’is who claim to be working for a better world are not already perfect themselves. They see the faults of some of the believers as hindrances to their own acceptance. They must learn to see the truth of the Message apart from the souls who struggle to uphold it. Baha’is are not perfect, and they do not pretend to be. Who they are is a group of people, from every corner of the globe, who are honestly striving to be a better people. Seeking souls must learn to not expect change overnight, even from Baha’is. They must learn to be patient, loving, and forgiving of others, especially Baha’is. They must accept the fact that changing history may take several generations, and learn to love the fact that Baha’is are trying.
Baha’is are constantly inspired by a Message of hope, purpose, and meaning for the world. The rewards of living the Baha’i life, with the understandings and insight that it brings, combined with the perspective and balance that it engenders, are truly incalculable. The Baha’i faith offers a way to serve, a way to prosper, and a way to live. It brings a message of spiritual healing and inspiration to all mankind. It offers us all a unifying sense of hope for a better day. Therefore, to be a Baha’i—is to truly live.