If we turn to ourselves, we won`t condemn the others anymore

`Geronda, when I see a certain disorder in accomplishing the duties, I condemn.`

`You have to look only at your own good accomplishment and not at the disorders of the others. Be severe with yourself not with the others. What work did you do today?`

`I wiped the dust.`

`Did you wipe it from the others or from yourself ?`

`Unfortunately I wiped it from the others.`

`Listen, you will start doing work within yourself when you cease being concerned by what the others do around you.

If you are concerned of yourself and stop being preoccupied of the others, you will see only your mistakes and you won`t see any mistakes at the others. Then you will fall into despair in the good meaning because of yourself and you will condemn only yourself. You will feel your own sinfulness and you will struggle to overcome your own weaknesses. Then when you see at the others a weakness you will say to yourself: `Did I defeat my weaknesses? Then how could I expect something like this from the others? For this reason search yourself and watch yourself all the time to get rid of the hidden pride but condemn yourself with discernment for not condemning the others. In this way you will correct your ways.

`Geronda, Saint Isaac the Syrian writes : `If you love purity, enter and work in the vineyard of your heart, uproot from your soul the passions and try not to know the malice of the man`[1]. What does he mean?`

He means that you must turn to yourself and work on your own person. How did the Saints become saints? They turned to themselves and saw only their own passions. By  self-condemnation they had they made fall the scales from the eyes of their soul and they came to see clearly and deeply. They saw themselves lower than all people and they considered all the people better than themselves. They saw their mistakes big and the other people`s mistakes very small, as they saw with the eyes of their soul, not with the earthly eyes. This is how it is explained the fact that they said: I am worst than all people. They purified the eyes of their souls which had become telescopes.

That is why they saw their small mistakes – the straw – as some logs. But we don`t see our own mistakes, although they are like logs and we see them as straw [2]

We look at the others with the microscope and we see their sins as big while we don`t see our sins at all because the eyes of our souls are not purified.

What matters the most is to purify the eyes of our souls. When Christ asked the blind man: `How do you see the people?` that man answered: `I see them as some trees`, because  he didn`t get entirely his sight. He was able to see clearly only when he got entirely his sight. What I mean is that when the man reaches a good spiritual state, he sees everything clean and he justifies the mistakes of the others in the good meaning as he sees them with divine eyes not with human eyes.

[1] see Saint Isaac the Syrian, Ascetic words, Epistle IV, pf. 48.

[2] see Matthew 7, 3.

Excerpt from Passions and virtues – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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