YOUR SELF AND THE OFFENCES
My beloved brother, unless you are
released from your 'self which you
worship in place of God, and which you
exalt and elevate in front of people, you
will never attain the eminence of the
release of the spirit...
you sometimes like to be praised by people.. and we
have discussed in a previous article what you ought to do when
others praise you.. Now, in this calm meeting I'd like to ask
'What do you feel and how do you behave when others offend you or mistrust you?'
you would think that you are insulted.. and perhaps
you would be much concerned about your dignity and the awe
and respect due to you.. This would make you angry and
furious.. You may avenge or defend yourself.. I do not deny
you this right, for I am in the flesh like you and have
experienced all such feelings or rather have been tempted by
them... But come, let us discuss the matter together.
What benefit does anger avail you?.. It disturbs you, and destroys your nerves.. Moreover it deprives you of the peace of heart and of comfort.. Do you not remember the words of St. James the Apostle,
"For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. " (James 1:20).
angry for the sake of your self is no doubt that kind
of anger meant by St. James the Apostle.. I hear you saying that
such anger relieves your sorrow and gives vent to the agitation
suppressed within you! But why do you have such suppressed
agitation which needs to come out? Of course the reason is
obvious which is that you are much concerned about yourself!
Be released, my beloved brother, from this self and you will
If anyone insults you, do not
think of yourself being
insulted, but of the person who insulted you.. He is your
brother.. and you-being a spiritual person full of love ought to
think what can you do for that brother who sinned against you..
course, you do not want his precious soul to descend into
hell, or that your insult stand in the way of his salvation..
Therefore you have to ask God not to count that sin on his
behalf or punish him for it.. You have to pray that God may
deliver him of such sin so as not to commit it again against you
you think of the brother who insulted you, try to
out the reason which led him to do so.. Perhaps he was ill, or
nervous, his mind agitated or his strength exhausted or
overloaded with social, scholastic or financial problems..
Consider what you can do for him.. Perhaps you can arrange
for him a nice journey or a picnic or try to provide him with
some means of amusement or entertainment.. If you find
yourself unable to do anything for him, at least show
compassion for him and ask God to give him special help..
People, my dear brother, are not wicked by nature, because when God made man, "God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good". As for evil, it comes to people from without; it is alien to them...
There may be other reasons which led that person to insult you.. He might have misunderstood you.. In such a case you can argue with him to convince him gently and lovingly..
However, there may be some persons who insult others merely because they like to do so, depending on their tolerance, to make of them a subject of their jokes and fun.
Avoid dealing with such persons, or address them, in a severe and firm but polite way to show them their faults and warn them against falling in such faults again..
This, you have to do not with purpose to avenge yourself or to retain a personal dignity but out of love for the person at fault. This would give him no chance to repeat the fault or fall again and destroy himself...
is a great difference between blaming a sinner with a
desire to take vengeance in such a way as to arouse his wrath against you, and blaming him out of love in a firm but calm way so that he may feel that you love him...
This concerns your attitude towards the person whom you feel has insulted you.. but let me go a little deeper into your self to argue concerning your inner feeling..
1. Why do you consider the words of the others an insult or an abuse? Why do you not consider such an insult - as you take it to be - a plain word useful to reform yourself
If you get annoyed due to this, that is because you like to be
praised and want all people to speak well of you.. You ought to rejoice, my brother, when people criticise and rebuke you.., because this is for your good. It purifies and benefits you in your coming life..
When someone criticises you, you thank him, for perhaps his
voice is the voice of God..
I mean that God who loves you may have sent such a person to
you to guide you and reveal to you your wrongdoing so that you may stop doing it.
2. Perhaps God is punishing you with such insults for other
sins which you have committed in the far or near past..
When David the Prophet heard an insult, he said humbly, "Let
him curse, because the Lord has said to him: 'Curse David?"
(2 Sam. 16:10).
My beloved brother, when someone insults you, remember your past sins and know that you are not perfectly pure so as to be beyond reproach...
3. Sometimes, God performs a successful act
but you take such success as a weapon to vaunt and right
yourself with, feeling self-righteousness. So, God fearing that
you may fall through pride, permits someone to insult you.. This
may make some equilibrium within your feelings and eliminate
your pride a little. Many of the persons who are insulted by
others are proud.. while the Bible teaches us that the meek are
raised by God from the dunghill and seated with the princes of
their people (Ps. 113:8)
4. Perhaps your conduct has offended others though you are not aware, and so they insulted you... Therefore it is good to know the point of view of the person who insulted you for he may be right..
5. Such an insult may be a lesson for you to
teach you love
and long-suffering.. One of the spiritual fathers said about
some monk who lived in seclusion not mixing with the brethren,
'Being with the brethren in the assembly is necessary for a
monk, because if he cannot endure the quarrels of the brethren,
how can he endure the wars of the devils in his solitude as St.
7. Or do you like to be praised and favoured by human
beings who are created of dust like you? My friend,
remember that your Master, ".. was oppressed and was
afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth." and, "He was
numbered with the transgressors." (Is. 53:7,12).. He accepted
8. Lastly, my beloved brother, when you are insulted and
when you feel annoyed and resent the insult though you are
a sinner like myself, remember then how we insult God and
how He endures patiently, loves us and accepts us! How
great our compassionate God is! He has no likeness among
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