Orthodox Thought for the Day


Monday, July 29, 2013

On the "right" of the other

More guidance from Gerontissa Gavrilia, The Ascetic of Love: 

G.G.:  A person who has love, forbearance, obedience and humility, has gained both this world and Paradise.  The most difficult thing, however, is to overcome the Power of Darkness which always tells us that we are right.  Do you agree? 

E.:  Aren’t we ever right? 

G.G.:  Never!  The other one is always “right.”  That is what is so important… 

E.:  How do you explain that? 

G.G.:  Do you know why?  Because, according to his own Ego, he is right.  Therefore, why should I try to convinced him with my own Ego? 

E.:  That is to say, we submit to the other person’s Ego and right. 

G.G.:  Not in the way you mean it.  We do what we consider to be right, without getting into pointless arguments with the other person; without reproval; without losing our peace of mind.  That person will continue on his own way and we shall commend him to God’s will.  He cannot harm us.  For we have an Authority above us and the Authority agrees with our own sense of justice.  We have our Confessor, our Gerontissa (spiritual mother), our Bishop, the entire Church who are in agreement.  Above all, we have the Gospel which tells us, “This is Right, this is the Commandment.”  So?  Now let me tell you something.  For all such thoughts, I have a basket, which I call the “basket of vanity.”  In the way we throw waste papers away, in the same way I throw these thoughts in this basket and they cease to trouble me.  Because man should not be worried by such things.  Many a time an atheist will come, someone who is opposed, someone who will start useless discussions with the sole intention of annoying you…Even if this person has saddened or hurt you, never show it…Never do that.  Otherwise he will have achieved his purpose.  Do you see that?  The next time he will return with greater resolution.  But if again you remain calm, he will think:  “No use hitting here; I’ll try somewhere else.” 

Therefore above all, no anger!  For the Lord Himself has said, “resist no evil.”  When we set ourselves against someone,  we get involved in a bitter quarrel.  If anyone were to witness the scene, after a while would he be able to tell who is right and who is wrong?  Certainly not.  Because we have both become evil, yielding to the Tempter.  This is why I am telling  you:  when a discussion between two persons leads to controversy, one of the two, if he happens to be a person of God, must keep silent and repeat within himself that prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us,”  Then in two minutes everything stops… (pp 309-10)

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