Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, June 20, 2014

On those that offend and are offended, pt 1

Sometimes those that live in society offend each other.  This happens either from the craftiness of the ensnarer, the devil, who hates love among us and incites us to offend our neighbor, or from the weakness of our nature, or from inattention, or often from habit.  In that case, reconciliation is absolutely necessary, and so will brotherly love be preserved.   

Many who have offended their neighbor are careless about it and so go to church and pray.  But from this it is evident how dangerous a condition they are in:  that whoever sins against man also sins against God, and whoever offends a man also offends God Himself because God forbade us to sin against a man and offend him.  And so a man, in sinning against his neighbor and offending him, sins and offends God Who commanded him not to do that.  

Love toward neighbor is bound up with love of God.  When love toward neighbor is destroyed, then, so, too, is love toward God. Whoever does not love his neighbor does not even love God Himself.  Hence it follows that he who would be reconciled to God and have peace with God must first be reconciled with his neighbor and so approach God and pray and ask mercy of Him.  Therefore, it is evident that the prayer of those that have offended their neighbor, and yet approach God in prayer without reconciliation, is vain and empty.  And this is what the Lord says, Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer they gift.  Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing (Matt 5:23-26), says the Lord.


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