– 62 –
The Tao is the true nature,
the secret source of everything.
It is the good man’s treasure
and the bad man’s refuge.
If a person seems wicked,
do not cast him away.
Awaken him with your words,
elevate him with your deeds,
repay his injury with kindness.
When a new leader takes office,
do not give him gifts and offerings.
Instead offer to
teach him about the Tao.
Why was the Tao esteemed by the ancient Sages?
Because, being one with the Tao,
you find without looking and
when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
It is the source of all good,
and the remedy for all evil.
It is the most noble thing in the world.
There’s no doubt that in this world we often have to deal with ‘wicked’ people; people that are so misaligned and dysfunctional that they cause untold misery for themselves and all those around them. Relating with such people can be an enormous challenge. The Tao Te Ching advises us to embrace rather than reject them and, in so doing, to shine a light in the darkness.
In spite of all appearances, the darkness can never harm the light, for it is merely the absence of light. If you walk into a dark room, you deal with the darkness by switching on a light—and it’s gone, just like that. It may not be quite so simple when dealing with people, for many stubbornly cling to their darkness, having made an identity out of it, but the principle remains the same.
It’s worth bearing in mind that we shouldn’t try to force others to change, but simply accept and embrace them. In so doing we may help them to become all they are capable of being.