Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, February 27, 2015

Beware of strengthening sin in yourself

The man who quarrels with his attackers takes the side of his own sin, defends it, and thus strengthens it in his soul.  Such a man is proud, and it is difficult for him to be saved.   


St. John Chrysostom asks the offended: 

Why do you refuse to be reconciled to your enemy?  He is speaking ill of you, calling you a fornicator?  So what?  If he is speaking the truth, correct yourself, it not—laugh at it!...And even better, not only laugh but rejoice—according to the Word of God:  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy:  For, behold, your reward is great in heaven (Luke 6:22-23).  And if he has spoken the truth, and you…condemn your transgressions, you will receive a reward…Often the enemies with their just rebuke accomplish that which your friends cannot with their praises and pleasant words. 


If we, beloved Christian readers, are patient with our enemies and seek the blame for their unkind attitude towards us in ourselves, we will be saved. 

A young and spiritually immature monk went to live in a certain monastery.  He thought that there he would find paradisiacal manners and that everyone would love and respect him as a most dear brother.  What was his disappointment when after a while he noticed that eight of the brothers loved him and two did not!  He could not put up with the dislike of these two, so he left that monastery and went to search for another where everyone would like him.   

In the second monastery, all brothers welcomed him kindly and treated him very well in the beginning.  However, that did not last very long.  Soon the likes and dislikes toward the newcomer surfaced, and, unfortunately, this time only four loved him and four others hated him and were worse than those in the first monastery:  they annoyed him, judged him, sneered at him, and did not miss an occasion to hurt him.  The unhappy monk could not put up with that, so he left this monastery, too. 

In the third monastery where he settled, he quickly found out that almost nobody liked him.  His reputation for being quarrelsome and lacking perseverance preceded him to this monastery, and the brothers there met him with distrust.  The young monk, realizing that he had come from bad to worse, began wondering if it was not his fault that he could not win the love of the others and decided to remain in this last monastery amid the cold and hostile attitudes of the brothers until he could win their love with God’s help.   

When he apprised his own behavior, he found that he was to blame for his quarrels with the brothers because he did not endure their teasing with patience.  A fortunate thought occurred to him, and he wrote on a piece of paper, “I will endure everything for Jesus Christ’s sake,” and put it in his belt.  Every time when someone insulted him or sneered at him, he took the piece of paper out of his belt, read it, remembered the promise of endurance which he had made to God and calmed down…TO BE CONTINUED

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