My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


"Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the
speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the
the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First, remove the plank
from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the
speck that is in your brother’s eye" [Luke 6:42].

Saint Theophylact writes: "Why He asks, do you look at the speck, that is, the small sin of your brother, while not perceiving the timber, that is, your own great sin? The Lord here directs His words to all, but especially to teachers and rulers who punish the smallest sins of those who are under them, while their own much larger sins go unpunished. Therefore, the Lord also calls them hypocrites, because they appear in one light, righteous punishers of the sins of others, when in fact they are something quite different, even greater sinners themselves. Then the Lord confirms His words with an example. Just as it is impossible, He says, for a good tree to produce bad fruit, or for a bad tree to produce good fruit, neither could a man be evil who tries to recall others to their senses, to correct them, and to lead them to the good. If he were evil, he would not labor to make others better. The heart of each man is a treasury; if it contains good things, then the man himself is good, and he speaks good things. But if the heart is full of evil, then a man is evil, and he speaks evil things."

Saint John Chrysostom states, "Brothers, let us not be bitter judges and accusers of others that we may not be found seriously responsible against God. Let us not forget that we too have committed serious sins which need greater forgiveness. Let us, therefore, be lenient towards the others no matter how badly they have sinned so that we may be assured of the mercy and leniency of God." Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is very clear when He says, "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. JUDGE NOT, and you shall not be judged. Condemn NOT, and you shall not be condemned. FORGIVE, AND YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN" [Luke 6:36-37].

The Kingdom of God calls us to a way of life in which mercy abounds. We must: [a) Refrain from judging.  By definition, human judgment precludes mercy.  (b) Do not condemn.  Condemnation causes us to depart from mercy.  (c) Forgive.  Forgiveness can only come out of a heart of mercy.  (d) Give.  When we give abundantly we receive from God in the same measure.  It is up to every believer to heed the Divine words of our Savior Christ.   No Orthodox Christian cannot be disobedient to Him Who gave His life to save us from evil and death.  When one judges another he or she does it out of pride.  Saint Gregory the Theologian states, "Nothing is more pleasant to many than to judge the actions of others."  A person who is weak in faith is misled to believe that he or she is better than others.  There is absolutely no humility and no compassion for others but only contempt and places himself or herself above them.  

   The Saints of our Holy Church always considered themselves as the worst sinner on earth.  Instead, whenever they witnessed someone committing a sin they would immediately pray to God to forgive them and show mercy upon them.  We too must have the humility to admit before God and man that we ourselves are sinners.   We, too, should say along with the psalmist, "…Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I ACKNOWLEDGE MY TRANSGRESSIONS, AND MY SIN IS ALWAYS BEFORE ME.  Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight…Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.." (Psalm 50[51]. This is a psalm of repentance and God’s mercy.

The harsher we are in our judgments of our fellow man, the harsher God will judge us at His Second Coming. How can any one of us believe that we can ever be united with our Lord not having any love for those who need our charity and compassion? He, Who, forgave those who crucified Him on the Cross when He said: "Father, FORGIVE THEM. FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO" [Luke 23:34], showing His boundless mercy. The Christian follower is one who learns from our Lord’s teaching, actions, and example. Humility is the foundation of virtue, and it is learned through submission and obedience to Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Be just and righteous. Don’t be arrogant and conceited. Man’s inclination is to believe that he is better than all those around him. That he is superior in intellect and much more knowledgeable than others. They are deceived by the evil one to think that they belong to the elite class and deserve all the honors bestowed upon them. The Almighty and Life-Giving God has given all persons a measue of "common sense" to use wisely to help those who have not found the God of love, and lead them to Him. With the presence of Christ comes the presence of love and, with love, inexpressible good things. Then a person, with tears of joy, communes with our Savior Jesus Christ in his heart with prayer: ‘LORD JESUS CHRIST, HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER’, AND THE HEART IS INPERCEPTIBLY FILLED WITH DIVINE LIGHT AND ARDEN LOVE.

Judging others brings a more severe judgment to us. Be forgiving and let us leave the judgment to the Heavenly and Righteous Creator of all. "Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" [Matthew 5:39], commanded the Lord. This is the briefest and clearest teaching on genuine humility. Do not be proud; do not be angry; do not be despondent; for that is all unworthy of a Christian’s calling. Submit yourselves to the will of God, and do not pry too closely into His judgments, for that is foolish. May God preserve us from pride, the greatest illness of the human race. Our Savior Jesus Christ exhorts us: "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I AM GENTLE AND LOWLY IN HEART, AND YOUR WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS" (Matthew 11:29). Christ’s "yoke" is submission to the Kingdom of God. Ayoke may be the symbol of hardship, burdens and responsibilities. Although it may feel heavy due to our sins, Christ’s yoke is light. In Him the soul is refreshed and sees that the Lord is gracious and kind.

"Let not your heart be troubled; YOU BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME" (John 14:1) says the Lord.


"Glory Be To GOD
Alll Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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