We often ask ourselves why we don’t get along with those around us, why we argue against them and each of us has a point in his own way. We sometimes get very upset, other times we cut the person we squabbled with out of our lives or we carry on with a long series of arguments and reproaches without asking God for help. We always fail to realize or be aware of the fact that we are His children, we are all brothers, we have such a precious soul and nobody except for God knows the weaknesses each of us has.
Whenever we quarrel with someone, whether it is a strife or that person reproaches us for something, it is important for us to humble ourselves, to get to know ourselves. When I say this, I mean we should regard ourselves as petty before God and maybe, without us realizing it, God admonishes us precisely through our friends or brothers. Secondly we must not judge the neighbour we are upset with. That is why we have to think about two aspects, the first of which is: ‘Lord, what have I done wrong that upset my brother and made him angry with me?’ or ‘Lord, what have I done wrong that caused my brother to slander me or to envy me or to speak ill of me?’ The second aspect is to take pity in the person who speaks ill of us or the one who is blind and can’t see the path. Let us pray to the Lord for them because they might have a bad temper due to the lack of love or due to certain circumstances.
Sometimes we don’t realize that some experiences in our lives leave us with trauma and we become reserved in our stance towards the world having the tendency to judge. Yet another major aspect is to have self-control, that is to renounce the egotism within us, the pride that infiltrates insidiously. Because of our ego we can’t accept advice easily, we feel like someone has something against us, but we don’t realize that we can learn something from any piece of advice. Those around us see us clearer from the outside and as you know a friend is not necessarily someone who flatters you, but also someone who lets you know when you are wrong.
Because we have a good opinion of ourselves, we often give advice to others or we try to impose our point of view, we are too haughty and we don’t accept any remark. If someone among us is less of a believer and has an erroneous view on something, we must not try to alter their opinion or impose our opinion in a barbaric manner because we would alienate them, they would become confused or judge us and consider us crazy. We must talk gently and kindly to these people, tell them our honest opinion, show them how we see good and evil. But it is even more important that we advise them to pray to the Lord, to seek Him, we could suggest going together to a church, to a monastery rather than giving useless advice in which we might not believe ourselves.
I would like to conclude with something particularly important: we should learn how to listen to people. Let us follow the example of our Saviour Who listens to each and every one of us. When somebody comes to you and wants to share a delicate matter of the soul, listen to them without saying anything and pray silently asking God to help them. We must not react on impulse, judge them or try to change them right away because they will flee. Have you seen the kind of patience confessors have? When you go to them to confess, they listen to you; if they labelled you, you would run away instantly and never confess again. We are all subjected to making mistakes, it’s better to keep silent and let God speak. Let us have patience with everybody, with the poor as well as with the weak and even with ourselves. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
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
I was talking to a cousin of ours a few days ago and I was asking her if she had a boyfriend and she told me that she used to have someone whom she lived with for a longer period of time. I asked her if she usually finds a boyfriend easily and she told me that it was pretty hard for her to find one. I told her I used to have the same problem when I was younger because I wasn’t and still am not such a good-looking person who sweeps girls off their feet.
She told me: ‘You know, being ugly too is a gift from God because you can be certain that the person who stays besides you (your boyfriend, girlfriend) likes you not only for the way you look, but for the way you really are as a person’. I liked what she said very much and I rejoiced.How can we in fact be ugly? If I am ugly, but I resemble God, that means God is ugly as well.
‘So God created mankind in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’
I sometimes like to think that if I asked someone: What does your mother look like, is she ugly or is she beautiful? What would they answer me? I am certain they would say: ‘My mother is very beautiful and I love her’. I say the same about my mother. For each one of us our mother is beautiful and we are very fond of her. But if I see someone else’s mother in the street and she is in her fifties, what is my opinion about her then? According to the way we, the youth today think, surely I wouldn’t consider her beautiful.
For me my mother is beautiful because she loves me so much, because she always takes care of me, because she has always been besides me for a quarter of a century, because she is my mother…
These being said, we notice that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and there is no qualitative or quantitative measure. The beauty of the other person is rendered by the way I relate to them. If I judge a person prior to at least getting to know them, I will related to them incorrectly and I won’t like them, because I have forced myself to do so, due to my prejudice. But I don’t judge them at all and I am open and sincere towards them, through this I get them to open up as well, to become known, to show their beauty.
The only ugly thing in the world is sin. And whoever commits the sin takes part of the dreadfulness of sin. But because we are all sinners, and nobody is righteous before God, I must not judge anyone for committing sin, I must not see the sin of others, but my own. By doing that, my desire will not be to see the sin of others, but their beauty.
The Lord Christ tells us that our eyes light up to our whole body when we only see the good:
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.’
The beauty of each person comes from their relationship with the others. I can’t be beautiful on my own, but I am beautiful in the eyes of my wife, of my little girl, of my friends. Likewise I can’t be ugly on my own, but only in the eyes of those who don’t love me.
‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’
Translated by Claudia
I believe that when God says not to judge in order not to be judged, He refers primarily on how other will treat us. When I make fun of someone, when I defame him, when I’m glad for his mistake, this is when I judged him. And if I judge him, he will also offend me, or will be glad for my mistakes, or he will came down on me when I’ll do something wrong. He will judge me also.
It’s simple. I haven’t been sympathetic to him and I didn’t forgive him when he was wrong, but I’ve judged him according to my thoughts, to my mind, to me. He will do the same with me.
When I’ll be good to others, God will arrange my life in order to meet people who will be good with me. When I’ll judge less, and when I will try to understand their problems and their incapacities, then other people in my life will be sympathetic to me and they will not judge me and they will try to understand me and forgive me.
Things are created in such a manner in this world, that when I’m good with others actually I’m good to me. When I forgive them actually I indulge God to forgive me.
But when I judge them, and I don’t forgive them, God leave’s me also to fall into the same sin that in the future I will understand and love them, and for the future not to judge anyone anymore.
How do I love others, in this way they will love to me. As good as I am with others so they will be to me (not necessarily the same people). God makes us to obey His commandments by making us wanting to do good to ourselves.
I want to be happy? Then I must help others to be happy. I’m evil with others then this evil will come back to me sometime.