Never Condemn Each Other

Icon of the Publican and the Pharisee

The Lord spoke this parable: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” St. Luke 18:10-14

  1. Do we have the right to condemn the Pharisee?
  2. If we condemn the Pharisee aren’t we the same as him in the parable?
  3. Do we consider ourselves more righteous than the Pharisee if we neither fast twice a week or tithe of all we get?
  4. Have we the right to place ourselves in contrast to the Pharisee – on the same level as the publican who returns home justified and exalted?

“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil. —St Seraphim of Sarov as quoted by Molly Sabourin on her excellent blog, Close to Home

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2 Comments

Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Scripture Rumination

2 responses to “Never Condemn Each Other

  1. Joan Litman

    Last week Fr.George Makdissi, at St.Dimitrios’ Church, Damascus commented

    “Judgment is because we do not see the image of Jesus Christ in the other person.”

  2. Such a good message, thank you.

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