You got upset on one of the authorities of the day because he did not want to receive you when you went to visit him. And you got upset even more of his excuse. When you presented yourself in front of his servant, he went upstairs, returned and told you, “The Gentleman is not at home.” And you were sure he was at home. In your anger, you wondered how such an important man can lie.
Well, he can! Just like smoke, the lie sneaks into the palaces as in the huts. But have you ever wondered if you were not guilty of his lying? Didn’t you do the same thing to someone else? Haven’t you said that you are not at home to someone paying a visit or who came to ask you for something? If indeed you haven’t done this, the lie of that honorable man falls upon his head; if you did lie though his lie is the punishment for your lie. Measure for the measure.
With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, God said.
The same thing says the parable about the unmerciful servant. (Matthew18).
This was the case of a Russian gubernian high official at the time of St. Seraphim of Sarov. He came to the monastery of the Holy Father Seraphim wishing to see that man of God and ask him for advice. When he knocked at the door of Seraphim’s cell, the Elder replied from within: “I’m not at home! I’m not at home!”. The official was surprised, waited for a while and then knocked again, presenting himself, but he received again the same answer: “I’m not at home! I’m not at home!” Stunned, the official didn’t knock again, but waited silently in front of the door. Eventually, the Elder opened the door and showed himself. Then the official, full of anger, said,
– Father, I’ve been to you five times, but you didn’t let me in or blessed me!
To that, the clear-sighted Elder answered:
– I behaved as you often do with those who visit you. When someone asks to be received by you, the servants answer:
– The Lord is not at home, he is not!
Thus, through that painful lesson, the Elder wanted to teach the offcial a lesson. Measure for measure.
This is a rule that man can escape only through repentance. If the man repents for his sin against the others, the others will not repeat the same sin against him.
Peace and joy from the Lord!
(Letter 216) by Saint Hierarch Nicholas Velimirovici