If We Understood

By Anonymous

Could we but draw back the curtains
That surround each other’s lives,
See the naked heart and spirit,
Know what spur the action gives,
Often we should find it better,
Purer than we judged we should,
We should love each other better,
If we only understood.

Could we judge all deeds by motives,
See the good and bad within,
Often we should love the sinner
All the while we loathe the sin;
Could we know the powers working
To o’erthrow integrity,
We should judge each other’s errors
With more patient charity.

If we knew the cares and trials,
Knew the effort all in vain,
And the bitter disappointment,
Understood the loss and gain—
Would the grim, eternal roughness
Seem—I wonder—just the same?
Should we help where now we hinder,
Should we pity where we blame?

Ah! we judge each other harshly,
Knowing not life’s hidden force;
Knowing not the fount of action
Is less turbid at its source;
Seeing not amid the evil
All the golden grains of good;
Oh! we’d love each other better,
If we only understood.

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