A woman dies after living a long, dignified life. When she meets God, she asks him something that has long bothered her. "If man is created in God's image, and if all men are created equal, why do people treat each other so badly?"
God replies that each person who enters our life has a unique lesson to teach us. And it is only through these lessons that we learn about life, people, relationships, and God. This confuses the woman, so God begins to explain...
"When someone lies to you, it teaches you that things are not always as they seem. The truth is often far beneath the surface. Look beyond the masks people wear to know their heart. And remove your own masks to let people know yours."
"When someone steals from you, it teaches you that nothing is forever. Always appreciate what you have, for you never know when you might lose it. And never, ever take your family and friends for granted because today is the only guarantee you have."
"When someone inflicts an injury upon you, it teaches you that the human state is fragile. Protect and take care of your body as best you can because it's the only thing you are sure to have forever."
"When someone mocks you, it teaches you that no two people are alike. When you encounter people who are different from you, don't judge them by how they look or act. Instead base your opinion on the contents of their heart."
"When someone breaks your heart, it teaches you that loving someone does not always mean that the person will love you back. But don't turn your back on love because when you find the right person, the joy that one person brings will make up for all the past hurts put together."
"When someone holds a grudge against you, it teaches you that everyone makes mistakes. When you are wronged, the most virtuous you can do is to forgive the offender without pretence. Forgiving those who have hurt us is the most difficult, the most courageous, and the noblest thing man can do."
"When a loved one is unfaithful to you, it teaches you that resisting temptation is man's greatest challenge. Be vigilant in your resistance against all temptation. By doing so, you will be rewarded with an enduring sense of satisfaction far greater than the temporary pleasure by which you were tempted."
"When someone cheats you, it teaches you that greed is the root of all evil. Aspire to make your dreams come true, no matter how lofty they may be. Do not feel guilty about your success, but never let an obssession with achieving your goal lead you to engage in malevolent activities."
"When someone ridicules you, it teaches you that nobody is perfect. Accept people for their merits and be tolerant of their flaws. Do no ever reject someone for imperfections over which they have no control."
Upon hearing the Maker's wisdom, the old woman becomes concerned that there were no lessons to be learned from man's good deeds. God tells her that man's capacity to love is the greatest gift he has. At the root of all kindness is love, and each act of love also teaches us a lesson.
As the woman's curiousity deepens, God once again explains...
"When someone loves us, it teaches us that love, kindness, charity, honesty, humility, forgiveness, and acceptance can counteract all the evil in the world. For every good deed, there is one less evil deed. Man alone has the power to control the balance between good and evil, but because the lessons of love are not taught often enough, the power is too often abused."
"When you enter someone's life, whether by choice or chance, what will your lesson be? Will you teach love or harsh reality? Each one of us has power over the balance of love. Use that power wisely."