How can we love someone who is constantly trying to hurt us?! How could we overcome that barrier which stops us from loving that last person whom we would like to see as our neighbor as well? By keeping our thought upon Christ. Everything must be done with the mind directed to Christ. Let us wonder how Christ sees this bad person in front of us? Because I see them the way I do. And how does Christ see them? We don’t know how, but He died for him. When we are tormented by evil thoughts about our neighbor, let us remember that Christ died for them as well. This is the thought that the Apostle Paul suggests when he tries to deliver us from the Judgement.‘Who are you – the Apostle says – to judge someone else’s servant?’ Or: ‘Beware not to cause your little brother to stumble, for whom Christ died!’ This thought is the deepest, because the Apostles themselves nurtured it and it lay before everything: let us keep in mind that Christ died for this sinner. The same Apostle Paul invites us to also meditate on the fact that Christ died for us when we were sinners.
Remember that there was a time when you hadn’t found Christ yet, because, although we were brought up in a family of believers, each of us can see, looking behind, how many shortcomings, how many confusions there were in our minds, on our way to the right perception of God. And despite all this, you would love God, you would come before Him, would pray to Him, would cry, would receive forgiveness, would rejoice and you thought you had everything you needed. But after a while we discover how imperfect we used to be: we would believe all sorts of weird things. ‘Oh, I thought that the Mother of God was born out of the rib…’ or ‘I used to believe this or that’. And despite all this, God would look upon you. You would do a lot of sinful deeds which you thought were righteous and God would forgive you. This is the way you should see your neighbor as well: that if they make any mistakes, they do it out of ignorance and that God judges them according to this ignorance and that He sees what you don’t. And the way you used to see yourself when you had so many shortcomings – but if you had seen yourself throughout time coming out of the labyrinths of ignorance and weakness, you would have condemned yourself – that is how you should judge your neighbor as well.
Hence, let us not forget that God loves each man in the state they are in and He knows about each of us the things that we don’t, because we judge by appearances, while God judges by the inner things, He also sees the future repentance which we don’t see. This is how we should reach to the people in front of us, to the people we don’t like, who annoy us, who upset us, who displease us: by always asking ourselves what Christ thinks about this man and by telling ourselves that Christ died for him and thus showed His perfect love He has for you and for him!
( Savatie Bastovoi – To love is to forgive)
Translated by Claudia