Fearing sinners and scorning sinners

 

The cypress is green in both summer and winter. Basil is fragrant in both summer and winter. Lambs are slain in both summer and winter.

Beware of wolves, when they attack you, one from the front and another from behind. But be even more wary of two sins: fearing
sinners and scorning sinners. For your greenness will vanish like the greenness of a willow. And your fragrance will turn into a stench. And your humility will become arrogance. And sinners will call you their namesakes.

You who are righteous: sin is weakness, and to be afraid of sinners is to be afraid of weaklings. A sinner is terrified of the dead righteous man within himself, and twice as terrified of a living righteous man outside himself.

Do not be terrified of someone, who is twice as terrified of you.

Is not the Lord the courage of the righteous? Is not the Lord Almighty the general of the righteous hosts? Truly minute is the righteousness of those who stand with the Almighty and yet fear the allunmighty.

If your justice is God's justice, your power is a divine power. In the beginning divine power seems to sinners to be weakness, for it is excessively meek, gentle and long-suffering. But in the end, when divine victory comes, sinners see with horror, that their house has been undermined by underground water, and is sinking down with no way back.

Like grass, God's victory grows slowly and silently. But once it has grown, one can no longer trample it or mow it.

Sinners are a flock without a shepherd; you are not. And if your shepherd leaves you, he does not leave you to abandon you, but to sift you in a fine sifter. Your shepherd will return soon, and you will die of shame for betraying him.

You who are righteous, sin is a sickness, and to despise sinners is to scorn the sick. He who gives of His own health to the sick, multiplies his own health.

Scorning sinners undermines the health of one who is healthy.

Sin sits at the table of those who are afraid to sit at the table of a sinner. Sin enters the home of those who are afraid to enter the home of a sinner.

Whoever turns back from his way, in order to avoid meeting a sinner, returns home laden with sin.

At every gate of your soul post a sentry, lest arrogance invade your temple. For if it enters, it will at once blow out the candles of all your virtues; and you will be like a wine-skin filled with wine, when it is punctured with a needle.

Brief is this day of life, but true life knows no night.

Whoever dies of sin during this day, will die a death that knows no day.

You who are righteous, pass one course after the next without a break. Whoever completes one course in righteousness, will be enrolled by the Lord in more advanced and more difficult ones. The sinner suffers from a lack of education, the righteous man suffers from studying. But truly the travail of the righteous man is sweeter than the travail of the sinner, just as returning to one's homeland is sweeter than residing in a foreign country.

O compassionate Heavenly Mother of God, protect all those who have set out on the way of righteousness, lest they fear sinners and lest they scorn sinners.

Lest their fear make them God-betrayers, and lest their scorning of sinners make them man-slayers.

Lest their quasi-righteousness be merely a pinnacle, from which they will fall even further downward to their destruction.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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