Let us make inside our conscience a courtroom

If you look at those who fulfilled virtue, you will gather near you countless good deeds; you will become humble, painstaking, with crushed heart. Beware what the Pharisee suffered when he left his good deeds and looked at the one with sins. Listen and fear!

 (…) Do not make yourself the judge of the mistakes of the others, nor the searcher of the sins of the others!

It was not commanded to you to judge the others, but yourself. If we judged ourselves, Saint Paul the Apostle says it, we would not be judged; but being judged by the Lord, we are punished (I Corinthians 11, 31-32).

But you reversed this order. You don`t ask for your own account for the big or small sins, but you search in detail the sins of the others.

We should not do this anymore. We should quit this disorder; we should make inside our conscience a courtroom for all the sins we committed.

Let us be the accusers and judges and executioners of our sins. If you still want to search the deeds of the others, search their good deeds, not their sins; so that the remembrance of our sins, the longing for the good deeds of the others, while that courtroom is prickling our conscience as a needle every day, will make us become humble and zealous to acquire the future goods.

Excerpt from Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Matthew, homily LXIV, V, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994).

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