Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church - Part 8

August 11, 2018

Periodically in the coming months I will be utilizing a little book translated from Russian titled simply Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church. The purpose of the book is simple: to give short sayings from Orthodox saints on a variety of topics important to all of us. I have found this little collection helpful and I hope you do, too.
-Fr John

 

How to Relate to the Sins of Others

Love sinners, but hate their deeds, and do not disdain sinners for their failings, so that you yourself do not fall into the temptation in which they abide... Do not be angry at anyone and do not hate anyone, neither for their faith, nor for their shameful deeds... Do not foster hatred for the sinner, for we are all guilty... Hate his sins, and pray for him, so that you may be made like unto Christ, who had no dislike for sinners, but prayed for them. (St. Isaac the Syrian)


Find evil in yourself and not in other people or things, were with you have not learned how to relate properly. This is how a child relates with fire or a knife: he burns himself, he cuts himself. (St. Sebastian of Karaganda)


A brother asked an elder: If I see my brother fall into sin, is good to hide him? The Elder answered: When, out of love, we hide the sin of our brother, then God also hides our sins; but when we show our brother's sin before others, then God also makes our sins known to people. (Ancient Patericon)


Do not lose your temper with those who sin. Do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbor and judging it, as we usually do. Everyone will give an answer for himself before God. Especially, do not look with evil intention on the sins of those older than you, with whom you have no business. But correct your own sins, your own heart. (St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ)

 

If you see your neighbor in sin, don't look only at this, but also think about what he has done or does that is good, and infrequently trying this in general, while not partially judging, you will find that he is better than you. (St. Basil the Great)

 

If you see a man who has sinned and you do not pity him, the grace of God will leave you. Whoever curses bad people, and does not pray for them, will never come to know the grace of God. (St. Silouan the Athonite)

 

One who strictly prosecutes the misdemeanors of others will find not condescension towards his own. (St. John Chrysostom)

 

Should We Denounce Them that have Sinned?

It is better to pray with good will for our neighbor, rather than to denounce him for every sin. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


Do not attempt to benefit by rebukes one who boasts of his virtues, for he loves to display himself cannot be a lover of truth. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


Whoever with fear of God corrects and directs a sinner gains virtue for himself, that of opposition to sin. But whoever insults a sinner with rancor and without good will falls, according to a spiritual law, into the same passion with the sinner. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

 

When you want to direct someone toward the good, first put him at peace bodily and honor him with words of love. For nothing inclines such a man to shame and induces him to cast of his vice and be changed for the better as do bodily goods and honor, which he sees in you. Then, with love tell him a word or two, and do not be inflamed with anger toward him. Do not let him see any cause of enmity toward you. For love does not know how to lose its temper. (St. Isaac the Syrian)

 

Judging

He who seeks the forgiveness of his sins loves humility. But he who judges another strengthens his own evil deeds against himself. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


A discerning man, when he eats grapes, takes only the ripe ones and leaves the sour. Thus also the discerning mind carefully marks the virtues which he sees in any person. A mindless man seeks out the vices and failings ... Even if you see someone sin with your own eyes, do not judge; for often even your eyes are deceived. (St. John of the Ladder)


If you have the sinful habit of judging your neighbor, then whenever you judge someone make three prostrations that day with this prayer: "Save, O Lord, and have mercy on him (whom I have judged) and by his prayers, have mercy on me, a sinner." Do this every time you judge someone. If you do this, God will see your sincerity and will deliver you from this sinful habit forever. And if you never judge anyone, then God will never judge you. In this way you will even receive salvation. (Priest-confessor Sergei Pravdolubov)

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