Once upon a time, there was a Soldier deeply in touch with his own heart. One day in the course of his military service in the company’s quarters, he came across a fellow soldier due for discharge who was sitting gloomily on his pallet. The good Soldier went up to him and said, ‘What’s the matter? Why do you sit there with your head in your hands instead of being glad, like everyone else, that you have done your time and are off home? I have just had a letter from home, ‘was the soldier’s reply.’ They write that my wife has had a child from someone while I was away.’ He was silent for a space, shaking his head. Then in a low voice, in which grief mingled with anger and injured pride, he muttered, ‘I am sacred of what I shall do to her. That is why I don’t want to go home.’ And you, the good soldier, asked him quietly, ‘since you left home, how many times have you been in the brothel house down the street? ‘Well . . .’ said the soldier, as if he were just remembering, ‘there have been times . . .’ You see, you could not wait. Do you think it was easy for her? It is all right for you – you are a man but once is enough to get her into trouble. Remember what you have done. You are more in the wrong than she is. Forgive her. Go home, accept the child as your own and, you will see, everything will be all right.
A few months later the good soldier received a grateful letter from the soldier telling him how as he had approached his home his father and mother came out to meet him, ‘uneasy’, while his wife, apprehensive and nervous, waited at the door with the child in her arms. Since the good soldier had talked to him at the barracks he had felt quite all right. He greeted his parents happily, then cheerily went up to his wife, took the child and kissed it, too. They all went indoors together, and after that walked round the village visiting relatives and friends. And wherever they went he carried the child in his arms, and everything was very pleasant. And since then, they had all lived contentedly together. In this letter the soldier thanked his good friend for his good advice. And there is no denying that the advice was not only good but wise, too. We all must realize that an essential condition for harmony amongst people is that each should recognize his own shortcomings.
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.