God does not love certain persons in a subjective manner, He loves everyone in a perfect manner because subjectiveness is a consequence of not loving everyone, that is of an imperfect love. He loves us all the same either we are saints or flagrant sinners.
That is the very reason why He was crucified for everyone, for everyone’s salvation and He wants all of us to open our heart and mind and receive Him within our person continuously.
How we open up to Him and what we do out of love for Him and for our fellow humans, for whom He let Himself be put to death in a shameful manner so that the world may have life, is part of our contribution to our own salvation which is a co-production/co-operation with God.
According to Saint Gregory Palamas, Our Most Holy Lady has not received special grace to live a Godly life, but the same grace all people receive in order to save their souls. But her longing for God was so great that She did not commit any personal sins in Her entire holy life.
The same for our Saviour, Saint Maximus the Confessor says, He facilitated the receiving of so much grace by the human nature which He assumed within His Person, that it was necessary for Him to bear the tremendous anguish of crucifixion. And He did that in order to strengthen His human nature, that is to fill it with grace, to make it become fully godlike so that we can appropriate from His deified humanness the strength to fight against the passions within us and to defeat them just like the Lord did: through the struggle of our entire being while being fortified by His grace.
Therefore, our Lord Christ did not show favouritism towards Himself while on the Cross or in any other moments of His earthly life, nor did He show favouritism towards His Mother or His Holy Apostles. On the contrary He told them and us: if they persecuted Me, they shall persecute you as well.
However, beyond any reasonable doubt the tripersonal Love, our Trinitarian God shows His overwhelming love in all those who love Him and live a holy life in communion with Him.
And the Gospels which speak of “His beloved apprentice” refer to the Lord’s most loving response to the apprentice’s complete love. That is why Saint John was loved by the Lord in a special manner: because the former also loved Him tremendously.
(Father Dorin Picioruş – The Series “Awkward questions”)
Translated by Claudia
Sometimes I feel lonely and abandoned and no one can help me… not even the saints… I am all alone with Christ, it’s just me face to face with Christ, just my being and Christ, just my sins and Christ… I have a feeling of loneliness before the Supreme Being, I can feel my helplessness before the Immensity, therefore the feeling of loneliness… and truly there is no one that can help me…
And although I can feel He is not far away from me, I have the feeling that none of us can get closer to the other… It feels like that moment when I will stand alone before Him and nobody will be able to help me, it feels like the day of the Final Judgment is only moments away and yet I am not terrified, but torn by my own loneliness, I feel completely forsaken and helpless before my own perverted nature.
And yet I wonder, why should I be afraid in my relationship with Christ? I think it is because I can feel the falsehood of my own life, my countless betrayals of His kindness… I can feel my mocking of Him… what else could I expect of Him after giving Him so much of my wickedness? Countless offences, countless betrayals… It is that feeling we have when we offend someone greater than us who loves us and we know they do and we wait for their decision to be made: will they forgive us again or is this the last time we see their face?
And I feel all of that because I want to love Him as well, I want to reply to His heartbreaking calling: Man, I love you unboundedly! But I remain the same traitor, hardhearted and helpless in my desire to reach Him, to touch Him… I wish I were able to feel His presence all the time, to stand by Him, to endure because I am aware He is right next to me…
Translated by Claudia
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:17)
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12)
(Saint Nicholas Velimirović – The heart during Lent)
Translated by Claudia
“Love bears all things, it has faith for all things, it hopes in all things, it endures in all things. Love never falls in ruins.” (1 Corinthians 13 – Saint Paul the Apostle)
That is indeed true. What a great sacrament the Lord has given us, He Who is Love has endowed us with love. What beauty, what joy as Paul the Apostle says in the same epistle: “and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Whoever has never known love? That feeling when your heart bursts with joy and happiness.
By God’s design, the man and the woman become one flesh, they are drawn to each other, they live together in harmony and their hearts are full of spiritual love, of true love, that is Christ lives within us.
By God’s perfect work, we are meant to be a couple, to live in love and docility.
Nothing simpler, we might say. Yes, if we knew how to give. We should give each other love the same way God has given us life. Our Savior said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Saint John Chrysostom said: “Giving to others seems a difficult thing but love makes it easy. Receiving from others seems enjoyable but love makes it infamous.”
The same saint says: “Anger gives a wild satisfaction but not to the man of love because he knows no anger. If his neighbor upsets him, he doesn’t get angry, instead he bursts into tears, prayer and beseeching… The peace and comfort felt by those who cry for the ones they love are not felt by those who laugh.”
Thusly we can see that when a beloved person makes a mistake, we bear with them, we indulge them, we put up with them and cry because we love them, that is what sacrifice means. Suffering for the other is the path to salvation. “Those who plant in tears shall harvest with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 125)
In order to see love, we must be obedient like the man born blind and have faith and hope in God because only this way our spiritual eyes will open through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The whole work of love must be blessed by the Lord, interceded by the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit that indwells our hearts when we are free of passions, when we observe the commandments by doing God’s will.
Father Arsenie Boca said: “Whom have you brought to Jesus?… You have nobody to bring to Jesus, maybe you intend to bring yourself because unless you bring yourself, you can’t bring someone else.”
The battle between our two natures takes place inside each one of us, the spirit of self-love on the one hand and the spirit of love and sacrifice for our neighbor on the other. Thusly, we must have the awareness of God’s presence, we must feel and live His presence in our lives for He is everywhere, we must turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father.
When both the man and the woman find Christ, when Christ has resurrected in the hearts of each of us, the Lord works in a mysterious way within each of us, He co-operates with us and everything is blessed by the One Who gives us everything: “Thine own of Thine own.”
Love is so beautiful, it follows us everywhere but we often ignore it. In the same manner, Jesus follows us everywhere but we ignore and neglect Him.
Saint John Chrysostom beautifully says: “Perhaps you will ask me: Doesn’t any kind of love even abstract bring joy? No, it doesn’t. It is only true love that brings pure and healthy joy. And true love is not worldly infamous love, which contains malice and vice, but Christian spiritual love, the one Saint Paul the Apostle requires of us, the one that looks after the neighbor’s interest. It was this kind of love that the apostle had when he said: Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is made to stumble and I do not burn with indignation?” (2 Corinthians)
In this manner, through love we can assume our neighbor’s weaknesses and God will soothe our wounds and strengthen our weaknesses.
That is why we must pray to the Lord that our hearts are cleansed of passions and hatred and due to faith and sincerity the Lord will bestow his blessing upon the two, the man and the woman.
Translated by Claudia
My dears, I would like to talk a little about a subject which is quite interesting for young people: relationships and the way we build a friendship and a future family. This is the way it’s always been and this is the way it is nowadays, except that now the matter is maybe a little more serious: very many boys and very many girls are single. What is happening? Why do they keep being single when they could very well enter a relationship, or at least some of them could.
Mr. Virgiliu Gheorghe says that men nowadays have become effeminate and are no longer the strong responsible men they used to be and one of the causes is the industrialization and the increasing role of technology in our lives. While women, in their pursuit for a career, have become more masculine, taking on the responsibilities of men and becoming more aloof from family life and raising children. The situation is uncomfortable for both sides and neither feels fully fulfilled, on the contrary they go through major depression sometimes.
Men desire very feminine delicate girls who want to be protected and accept their love and protection. Unfortunately though, many girls have nurtured a self-sufficient attitude trying to prove that they are powerful and can manage on their own and that is why their strong dominating personality pushes men away.
Women desire very responsible men who are strong, aware and clearheaded. But unfortunately many guys struggle against bodily passions, they only work with the mouse and keyboard and don’t appear capable of bearing the brunt of a family. Their mind keeps wandering around and they find themselves at the age of 30 not knowing what to do with their lives.
This situation is understandable up to a point, both for girls and boys. Yet I think that out of 1000 single girls and 1000 single boys, at least a quarter of them can become friends and start to build something together.
I know, there is no accounting for taste! Girls wait for an elegant, romantic man, a problem solver, a loving man with a sense of humor who comes home early, etc. And boys wait for a beautiful passionate girl who makes a good housewife and is submissive, etc.
A dear friend of mine told me that she was waiting for the day when “she would fall in love so hard that the pillars of the sky would fall down on me”, paraphrasing Father Nicolae Tanase’s words.
I think that love at first sight and this crazy falling in love with someone is merely a great exception and by no means a rule. It is just a way for God to show us how we should get close to each other hadn’t we fallen into sin.
From my life experience, from talks I had with my friends, from what I’ve seen and heard, I can tell you that I don’t know any couples who met through love at first sight and an extraordinary attraction from the very beginning.
In most cases and this was the instance with the relationship with my wife Iulia, everything was built gradually, little by little, on the basis of a slight physical attraction. No fireworks. No major twists in our relationship. No burning with desire for each other, but slowly, increasingly better and upon an increasingly solid foundation.
Relationships must be built, they don’t come as a ready-made gift. You will never meet the ideal spouse overnight, you will only discover him/her after months or even years together when you will have realized you share the same perspective on life and a certain complementarity between the two of you, namely the key elements a family can be built on. Father Viorel from Chisinau said a few days ago: ”Make the ideal wife out of your woman! Make the ideal husband out of your man. This is what I did and I am married to the ideal wife now.”
But don’t change him/her in your own image and likeness, but according to God’s will. Always show them the mirror of God’s commands and tell them what you expect from them. Don’t try to mold them to your needs (valid or not) but in such a way that they will respond to the Lord Christ’s calling to a new life.
I’ve always pointed out to my friends that it would be a good thing both for boys and girls if they lowered their level of expectation regarding the other and started to build a relationship together. The more that time goes by, the longer the list of prejudice and expectations becomes and you find yourself at the age of 30 with nobody around you who even comes close to your mental picture, your imaginary template.
My dears, let us be more realistic.
Girls, Prince Charming will never come, trust me! I know many girls of a certain age and I can confirm this. Do accept invitations to go out for a juice from boys who don’t meet 100% of the requirements of your dream prince and you will be surprised to discover beautiful people behind your prejudice which surrounds him like a curtain.
Guys, most of the very beautiful girls are already taken and they are not easily accessible, stop dreaming of them or you’ll stay single for the rest of your lives. In addition, this kind of girls usually suffer from self-love, narcissism and one can rarely find a beautiful woman who didn’t make an idol out of her beauty. Turn your attention to girls nearer to you. You will see that you will place spiritual beauty above physical beauty in family life. What good is a beautiful woman who poisons your soul? And how delightful it is to have a simpler girl by your side but who fills your soul with joy every day.
In general, single girls past 25 start to panic, those past 30 become depressed and those past 35 feel like the battle is lost. Do everything you can right now and stop driving away the men/boys that God sends into your lives directly or indirectly.
Guys don’t panic as easily but, although they seem to manage better than girls, they suffer a lot too. In time, if they don’t get married, they fall into dark passions in the attempt to drown the sorrow of their loneliness.
My dears, I see so many single girls under 35 around me and just as many single guys. We keep complaining that God doesn’t send us the right person in our lives, but when someone shows up, we analyze them to pieces and draw the dry conclusion : “She/He is not my type!” and we leave them. After years of such endeavors we cry out to God that He is unjust and doesn’t help us. But we are not perfect and thus cannot claim perfection from others.
If we were humble like the Lord Christ urges us to be, if we saw our own mistakes and selfishness, we would cease to see so many flaws in the other person. Because the ugliness of our soul would make us see how beautiful our neighbor is. If we pursued nothing else but marriage as the purpose of each relationship since we were young, things would be very different.
Try to step out of your comfort zone! Give a chance even to the one you think is not the right person. Always talk to God in your prayer about the boy or the girl who came into your life. God’s logic often contradicts worldly logic and it might just be possible for God to have a spouse planned for you who doesn’t seem right according to your standards at the time, but who will actually prove to be the best choice in time.
Give up your prejudices! Spend time together, give the other a chance! Ask God to soften your petrified heart and be able to love the one next to you.
Theoretically, any man could love any woman provided he is connected to the Godly “source” of love. So any man could marry any woman because we are all called to love one another in a perfect way. I don’t believe in “the other half” concept, I only believe in God Who changes people’s hearts.
Please, do reconsider! There will come a time when you won’t have the same chance you have today to meet people! Overcome all the prejudices you hold against your neighbor and you will see that by changing yourself, the others around you will change as well.
If you truly want to start a family, make a sacrifice for your woman! Show her you are willing to give up a lot for her sake! Conquer her with your willingness! Communicate with her. Be persistent!
Guys, please be persistent! Girls like that. Many of those who are persistent gain time and manage to get a few face-to-face meetings when you can show her your affection.
Girls, please let guys court you. Accept them more easily without resisting them so much.
Bear with each other! We all have flaws. We all need each other.
Find out if you share the same perspective on life, if you can go in the same direction and especially if you can bear with each other’s flaws.
Start a family! Modest, small but lasting. God will come and strengthen your relationship and make it grow and bear fruit.
Get married! Have babies and you will see that the babies, the fruit of your love, will fill those gaps, those shortcomings in your family. With each new baby your family becomes stronger and your relationship more solid.
Start a family through sacrifice, modesty and humility!
Translated by Claudia
Our Lord Jesus Christ said to us: “Come to Me you all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
It is clear what use humility is, as the humble and meek man finds rest for his soul, he escapes from the torment of all the passions and worries that burden and tire him. Due to humility and meekness the heavy burden of this world is left aside and the yoke and burden of the Lord are taken upon, the yoke being good and easy to bear.
But what can all this mean in practice? What are this yoke and this burden? How are we supposed to take them upon us? The Lord tells us: “Learn from Me”. Let us learn from Him, Who bore all our crosses, all our burdens before us. He bore them with humility and meekness, always doing the will of the Heavenly Father, always speaking and working only what He would see and receive from the Father. This is the yoke which is easy to bear and gives rest to the souls, doing the will of the Heavenly Father.
The first commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and all your strength. And how do we better show our love for Him, if not by working what is pleasing to Him? The same way the Lord Christ did all His life? Humility is doing what is pleasing to God, giving up what we like if we know that He does not like that. Do we do this? Do we ask ourselves every step of the way: “Is what I am doing right now pleasing to God?” And if we feel that it is not, do we have the strength to give up our will in order to bring a little joy to God?
Is God truly alive and present in our lives through what we do out of love for Him or do we constantly push Him aside from our lives telling Him that we know better what to do for our own good? This is where humility steps in… We do our own will so often, but how often do we give it up in order to bring a joy to the Lord, to show Him that we love Him more than we love ourselves? We say it, but do we also show it through our deeds? Well, it is not that easy to show it through deeds because it requires humility and meekness, which are hard to achieve by those who love themselves more than anything else. And unfortunately this is where I often stand, as well, through my deeds, though I say something different… But look what the reward is for this assay: “you will find rest for your souls” and whoever tried at least once to renounce their own will out of love for God, know that this is true, they receive great comfort, peace and rest…
And the question remains: how do we achieve humility if, as we can see, we are a bunch of stubborn heads and we keep on doing what we usually do, we are a bunch of cowards and we keep on doing what we usually do, we are unworthy and we keep on doing what we usually do. How do we exit this vicious cycle?
The answer always comes from the Lord: “Ask and you shall receive”… prayer… we ask for humility and we shall achieve it! How? That is something that only God knows for each person individually, He knows how to work with each heart, He arranges everything that is necessary in one’s life so as to achieve humility, all they have to do is ask for it… Let us ask for humility unceasingly, let us ask for the strength to renounce our own will in order to be able to love, for the love for God makes His yoke easy and His burden so light… Love gives us wings! Let us ask from God to teach us how to love Him, to give us love for Him, because we can do nothing apart from Him… This is humility…
Praised be the Lord!
Translated by Claudia
I am asking You for a caress… O, Lord, touch my soul with a flower petal to make it feel pampered, to make it seek You incessantly and when it catches a glimpse of You for a moment, to hug You as its only Father, as a balm full of comfort. I am asking You for a solace… Kind Lord, soothe the scars of my soul to make it rejoice at Your caress, to make it stop grieving in vain, running incessantly and yet incessantly calling for You. Stay with me, Kind Lord… my soul shouts. Stay by my soul for I need Your love when I least deserve it. (Oana)
Translated by Claudia
‘The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you!’ (Saint Silouan)
It doesn’t matter
It doesn’t matter if you are fat or slim – you are beautiful no matter what and you are loved the way you are,
it doesn’t matter if you have a thin long nose or a small and bumpy nose – you are beautiful no matter what and you are loved the way you are,
it doesn’t matter if you have black, brown, red, white or blond hair – you are beautiful no matter what and you are loved the way you are,
it doesn’t matter if you have green or black eyes,
it doesn’t matter if you are tall or short,
you are beautiful no matter what and you are loved the way you are.
The Lord made you a wonderful creature and He loves you so much,
that He dies for your sake, He lays down His life on the Cross for you.
It doesn’t matter if you have designer clothes or not.
it doesn’t matter if you have a 35-room villa or a shack,
or if you sleep in a train station or at an expensive hotel,
it doesn’t matter if you are a college graduate, have a PhD or just a high school or elementary school graduate,
in order to be loved by God,
God loves you no matter what.
It doesn’t matter if you are a bank manager or a janitor,
what matters is to have God in your soul, to always call upon Him in your life.
All the labels others pin on us only matter in one’s mind.
God created man with His hands and He created him beautiful, He planted the longing for beauty, good and truth in his heart.
Everything else is a chasing after the wind if lived without God.
It really doesn’t matter if one is fat or slim, if their bottom is big or scrawny, or if they have pimples – although for some it is the worst disaster, but even so, man can be happy. Why?
Because what matters is to have God in one’s soul.
To be aware of the fact that we depend on Him in everything and to be thankful to Him for all things. This is what matters.
The world steps in and says that you must be in a certain way, wear a certain kind of clothes, wear trendy 5 inch high heel shoes no matter how uncomfortable they are – the story about the emperor’s clothes still applies. The world steps in and says (through ads, shops, magazines) that it is fashionable to wear ripped clothes, to dye your hair and that young people just want ‘to be like their peers’.
But again the world steps in and says ‘back in my days… things were different, young people behaved better, we wouldn’t dare talk so rudely, dress like this… and so on.’ Really?
A little love
Sometimes I happen to hear people talk about the youth as if they were some kind of lepers, scarecrows.
I was once going to the library with a group of cheerful, lively students and a lady on the crosswalk yelled at them with fear of being hit by them! They were just talking and being cheerful! The fear lied only in that lady’s mind…
A retired gentleman was once talking on a bus about a few kids who put their legs up on a park bench and whom he reprimanded and their response wasn’t exactly sugarcoated, but he never mentioned he had prayed for them at least for a moment. He didn’t have one kind word for them and nor did he now, may God enlighten him.
I happened to read a few comments of an elderly lady who started with ‘back in my days…’ and went on saying that ‘she was glad she wasn’t a teenager today because back then there weren’t so many temptations and she was protected from falling into sin and she was also glad she had no daughters to raise today… an so on’. I found her words quite heavy. It was as if she said: ‘thank you, Lord that I am not like the others.’
When our Savior came to this world, the world had fallen into sin to such an extent that it couldn’t have fallen any lower. That is how many sins there were at the time! Christ came, lifted the sins of the world and destroyed them with the power of the cross, with His death and Resurrection. He gave us a weapon to fight against sin, against the devil, He gave us His Cross. Whoever takes up his cross and follows Christ, can do all things. Why then this despair and scorn of the youth? Because he who despairs trusts in himself, not in God Who is Love.
Let us ask ourselves for a moment at least: were the young people given any love? Did they receive love from their mother, from their father, from their grandparents? Were they lovingly pressed to their bosom? If the answer is yes, then thank God, the good seed was planted in their hearts, it just takes patience before the results become visible. But if the answer is no, then don’t scorn them by adding your insult. What is an insult more compared to the ones they have been fed with since they were little? When you speak to them with hatred they won’t respond with kind words.
Give them a little love, be glad they exist and were not dumped in a hospital bin. Who knows perhaps someday one of them will save your life. Rejoice when you see young people entering the church, rejoice when you see young people around you, don’t be afraid of them, love them, pray for them, bless them. Even when you are in the street and see a young girl wearing too little clothes or a young boy with dyed green-violet-blue hair, wearing ripped pants – bought for a lot of money, clothes full of spikes no matter how they look, with long hair covering their eyes from the looks of the others, no matter what they look like, pray for them! They need love so badly!
Your good deed is a deed of almsgiving. If you cannot help them with a warm kind word, at least pray for them in your mind.
God will reward you for all your love.
These young people are our greatest treasure. We should love them.
There are so many young people with clean warm delicate souls!
Translated by Claudia
Love is not a feeling. One lives love through feelings, as well as through the bodily senses, but it is actually a strength given to us by God, it is the strength to renounce ourselves, to offer ourselves to the other. There are several forms of love, we know that there is the love of friendship, the eros type of love and the agape type of love; the latter is the love that God asks of us when He says: ‘Love each other as I have loved you.’
The Church teaches us to love the way God does, to love with God’s love. Like in the relationship with God, in the relationship with the one we love – may them be our child, our mother-in-law, our mother or our husband – we don’t rely on feelings. We thank God when the feelings are positive, we bear the negative ones, but we rely on the strength that God gives us in order to love one another. Love has the form of forgiveness, it has the form of weeping – when a beloved one dies our love is mourning, it is grief, it is weeping and we don’t say ‘stop weeping, forget it…’ Why shouldn’t we weep? We weep with longing, we weep with self-pity because we have been left alone. But we have the hope that they are all right. This is my love and this weeping never ceases if it is the death of a child, but this doesn’t mean that we stop smiling, that we stop enjoying life, but we weep for the love which we now live in this form.
How can you let yourself guided by God’s will, but not in the meaning of becoming careless? Just like this, you go ahead and do it! ‘Lord, let Your will be done!’ And when you feel like acting in any way, say: ‘Is this God’s will?’ And this thought alone is enough for you. If I intend to do something I say: ‘Lord, I want to do this, but may Your will be done, not mine.’ And I accept the option which doesn’t work out, because then it means that that is how God wanted it. I tell Him what I want because I know what I want, I have given some thought to it, but I leave room to God as well. When I don’t know what I want then it is something that doesn’t come from God. I must make the choice. God doesn’t choose for me. I have taken the decision, this is the way I would like to act, but may You, Lord, decide. Or in some situations I seek the advice of my parents who have more experience, I consult my confessor.
Translated by Claudia
Good Lord, do You love me? Me, I love You the way I am…
You know all the corners of my heart and You hear me when I call to You
You suffer by my side, You rejoice with me, You smile with me
Like a child I try to embrace You, to gently touch Your hand
You turn the evil into good, and perform miracles out of simple things
Being the love of the entire world, love me the way I am
When I least deserve, when I get sad or I rebel
Love me like that and as You wish heal my weaknesses
Love me like a gentle parent, show me the path towards which I shall go
When man hurts, You hurt with him
You help him carry his cross,
You carry him in Your arms to Heaven and wipe his tears away with kindness
Good Lord, I want to keep You in my soul
To be able to love by forgiving, to be able to rise after falling
I love You, the way I am!
Translated by Claudia
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