My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
"Why do you boast in evil,
O mighty man?
The GOODNESS OF GOD ENDURES
FOREVER" (Psalm 52:1).
"Or do you despise the riches of His GOODNESS,
forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that
THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADS TO REPENTANCE?" (Romans 2:4)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING,
KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL.
Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22).
Our Loving and compassionate God teaches His children always by example. Everything in His creation reveals His Everlasting Goodness and Righteousness to mankind. He is Goodness! He is Agape! He is Truth! He is Life! He is Mercy! He is Immortality! He is Just! He is Gentle! He is Faithful! He is Peace!
Our Loving God created man and woman to be good. Malice and hatred have no place in man’s life and world. And yet, mankind inclines always to violence and acrimony. I call this Cain Syndrome, condition. I am confident that everyone recalls the story of the two brothers Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, however, allow me to refresh your memory. According to the Holy Scripture, "Abel was a shepherd of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now in the process of time, Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord from the fruit of the ground. Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his sacrifice, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices. So Cain was extremely sorrowful, and his countenance fell…Now Cain talked with Abel his brother and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and killed him, Then God said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother? He replied, ‘I do not know, Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Thus God said, ‘What HAVE YOU DONE? THE VOICE OF YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIES OUT TO ME FROM THE GROUND" (Genesis 4:2-10).
Both Cain and Abel worshipped God and brought sacrifices to Him. The Lord accepted Abel and his gifts because Abel had A GOOD AND DISCERNING HEART. He discerned through faith in the Lord’s Coming Incarnation and His Sacrifice as a Lamb for the salvation of the world. (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4; 12:24). The Lord rejected Cain and his gifts. But Why? The INWARD STATE OF HIS HEART WAS NOT RIGHT WITH GOD. Cain’s way was characterized by HIS SINFUL PASSIONS THAT DOMINATED HIM. One of these was extreme sorrow, made manifest in HIS FALLEN COUNTENANCE, HIS ARROGANT WORSHIP WAS REJECTED AND HE FELL INTO THE OPPOSITE CONDITION OF EXTREME SORROW. Whereas godly sorrow LEADS ONE TO HUMILITY AND REPENTANCE, EXTREME SORROW NULLIFIES BOTH.
Ever since that first violent murder, brother killing brother, humanity has not ceased killing one another for centuries. We neglect to remember that we are one human family. That we are all children of God and that we are brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. It matters not how and what the reasons are for killing each other, or whether one kills another or we kill each other in regional or world wars. Killing is killing! That is why I refer to this continual violence as the Cain Syndrome.
According to our Holy Orthodox Christian Tradition in every Divine Liturgy, we pray to God, "For a good defense before the Dread Judgment Seat of Christ, let us pray to the Lord: Lord have mercy." Romans 2: 2-16 describes God’s Righteous Judgment, showing how we can prepare ourselves for it. God’s Judgment will be: According to truth (Romans 2:2-3): Nothing is hidden from our Lord. He SEES EVERYTHING AND KNOWS THE TRUTH ABOUT EACH OF US. One of mankind’s great self-deceptions is to say, "Who sees us?" (Isaiah 29:15) and think THERE IS NO JUDGMENT. We, however, know deep in our hearts that an unrepented heart, as in the case of Cain, DESPISES GOD’S GOODNESS, and brings upon him, God’s condemnation. A repentant heart, however, is grateful for God’s patience and forbearance and abides in Christ, practicing a life of repentance, which produces confidence before God at the Judgment (1 John 2:28).
The Almighty Lord and the Savior of mankind desires that people will live in peace. We were given His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ to bring peace among us. We read in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulders. His name will be called the Angel of Great Counsel, for I SHALL BRING PEACE UPON THE RULERS, PEACE, AND HEALTH BY HIM. Great shall be His government, AND OF HIS PEACE THERE IS NO END. HIS PEACE SHALL BE UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID AND OVER HIS KINGDOM, TO ORDER AND ESTABLISH IT WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUDGMENT, FROM THAT TIME FORWARD AND UNTO AGES OF AGES" (Isaiah 9:5-6).
Tragically humanity has not learned any lessons from its history of violence and wars. It keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It is ironic that we continue to believe that we are civilized and that we have progressed as people or that we are any better than people of the past. Civilized human beings are not violent and cruel. Civilized people are people of faith, dignity, honesty, love, peace, kindness and goodness, compassion, self-respect, of respecting life and every living thing, selflessness, humility, patience, integrity, and good and faithful servants of God.
People who help and support each other. People who are refined and not crude or barbaric. This is the 21 Century after all how many more centuries need to pass before human beings will come to their senses?
GOODNESS or in Greek ΚΑΛΩΣΥΝΗ, IS THE ANSWER! Everyone must strive to be as good as possible. As Christians, we believe that if we have faith in Him, "FOR WITH GOD NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE" (Luke 1:37). Therefore let us turn to Our Heavenly and Loving Creator and seek His aid to change the violent course of mankind. Let us offer this supplication to the Lord together, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD FOREVER" (Psalm 23:6). Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God