In the life of the Byzantine emperor Justinian II († 711), the worst thing happened that only can happen to the ruler is a conspiracy. He was overthrown from the throne. And that Justinian did not even think to claim a return, he was cut off his nose. In those days it was believed that the emperor can be a perfect man, that is, not having any defect, including bodily harm. A little later, Justinian II completely refuted this thesis, returning to the throne. However, the perfect did not, if you mean perfection in its true sense.
Overthrown and humiliated, exiled to distant Chersonese, Justinian, having lost his nose, has not lost his natural wit. In his heart flames of vengeance flared up, and brushwood for the flame served as an insult. Having entered into dialogue with the ruler of Khazaria, Justinian quickly gained strength and acquired the necessary connections. When the murderers were sent from Constantinople to him, Justinian, cleverly ahead of them, killed the conspirators, and then with a handful of supporters sailed to Bulgaria on a simple fishing boat.
A terrible storm broke out in the sea. There was no hope of salvation. One of the servants, as if having understood spiritually, implored: "Now, sir, we are dying. Give God a vow in the name of your salvation is not to punish the enemies, if God returns the kingdom to you. " Justinian in anger exclaimed: "May God drown me in this place if I spare one of them." God spared Justinian, they came out of the storm unscathed. Mercy of God did not teach the soul, tormented by resentment and thirst for revenge.
The Bulgarian prince gave Justinian warriors. And now he is near the walls of Constantinople. What moved this unquenchable soul? What made you make efforts and come out victorious in a desperate, it seemed, battle? - Still the same bitter resentment and thirst for merciless revenge. The source of spiritual energy was hellfire. But while Justinian was standing at the powerful high walls of Constantinople, the inhabitants of the city laughed lightly at the nosy deposed ruler. And then Justinian went on a desperate step. At night, with a handful of daredevils, he made his way through the old aqueduct into the city, reached the palace and declared himself a full-fledged ruler. Warriors from the royal regiments, confused, thought that Justinian had indeed restored his rights, immediately moved to his side. Soon the whole city was in his hands.
Justinian II Rinotmet (first board).
How did Justinian use his so happy and humanly unexpected victory? Alas, he filled the whole country with executions and repressions, sought out who opposed him, and punished in the most cruel way. If before his expulsion Justinian made many useful for the empire affairs, held an important for the whole church history Trulli Cathedral (691-692), defended the empire from numerous conquerors, then the whole meaning of his reign on his return embodied in merciless revenge and the satisfaction of all his former grievances.
Always in the rules of the emperors, during ascension to the throne, to declare forgiveness to at least one of the convicts. Justinian II did not remember this. The meaning of any amnesty is precisely that the ruler hopes to build a new life according to the rules of mercy, and not revenge, forgiveness, and not terror. The ruler, announcing the amnesty, confirms that he himself is above some personal insults. Terror always proceeded from opposite principles. Blood for blood, head for the head, and even better than all the heads of their enemies instead of their own.
Vengeance entails a new thirst for revenge - from the side of innocently offended, injured, unjustly punished. The rivers of innocent blood spilled over the cup of God's patience. In the empire, because of constant repression, disorganization intensified, and Justinian II was again overthrown. This time the grace of God turned from him: Justinian was executed.
What lesson does this real story teach us, similar to the plot of an adventure novel?
Every revenge is in the bud the torment of the most avenging
Any insult can grow into revenge. Of course, insult does not always end in revenge. But there is no revenge without the insult that precedes it, as there is no weed without strong roots, a viper bite without poison, an explosion of a mine without the action of a detonator. Resentment is a stone prepared against another. Revenge is the cast of this stone. When you carry a stone in your bosom, it's hard for you, and the heaviness of the soul will increase, if the stone of resentment you throw in the direction of the neighbor. Any revenge, and therefore, and every insult is in the bud the torment of the most avenging, the most offended.
The furnace burns everything that is put into it, absorbs fuel, and small ashes are removed. And resentment burns everything in the soul, this soul only absorbs and destroys, and gives back a handful of burned feelings, relationships, broken relationships with people. But if it's warm from the stove, then it's cold from the embarrassed soul.
How many families gave a break only because the couple began to take offense at each other because of some oversights, accumulated a load of offense, and then this load caused the family's rook to the bottom. There are those who in revenge changed, in retaliation filed for divorce, in retaliation threw the other in a difficult life situation. Because the offense has blocked everything, deprived of sound reason, led to the collapse of all the most valuable.
Resentment is the temptation of all people without exception. A vivid example of resentment and the desire for revenge, we see even among the disciples of Christ. The Savior, on his way to Jerusalem, sent his disciples to the Samaritan village to prepare a place for Him. But the Samaritans did not accept the Savior, because He had the appearance of traveling to Jerusalem (Luke 9: 53). This was the reason for the offense of the apostles. And here is the desire for revenge: Seeing then, his disciples, James and John, said: "Lord! Do you want us to say that fire came down from heaven and destroyed them, just as Elijah did? (LX9: 54). So just the apostles thought to solve the arisen difficulty, according to the principle: there is no person - and there is no problem.
The apostles could not even imagine that they would pass through these lands with a sermon of love, and then they would gladly meet the news that the Samaritans also accepted the word of God (Acts 8: 14). Their thoughts were so busy that they wanted to incinerate their abusers. To rethink them, they still had to go through sorrows and fears, and only the grace of the Holy Spirit made their heart an abode of love that knew no offense.
But if we look at the prefatory narrative of the Gospel, we will see that before the Samaritan village the apostles came to the idea of which of them was more (Luke 9: 46). Thinking about how great you are naturally turns into disgrace when someone did not accept you.
Any our resentment is a manifestation of pride
Any our resentment is a manifestation of pride, such a person is certainly convinced that he should be given special honor, and if this does not happen, he believes that he was despised, misunderstood, left alone. So the famous lines of M.Yu. Lermontov:
The soul of the poet did not take out
The shame of petty grievances,
He rebelled against the opinions of the world
Alone, as before ... and killed!
Offended - always a "slave of honor", he always seems that his, such a good, capable, intelligent, misunderstood, not accepted, pushed.
Humility casts off resentment. If you admit yourself less than others, then who should take offense?
Who among you is the least, he will be great (Luke 9: 48), - Christ answers the naive question of the apostles about the primacy. Humility brings peace to the soul, expels resentment. If you admit yourself less than others, then who should take offense? How can one consider himself dishonored by someone who does not expect honor from anyone?
Why did this obvious infirmity of the disciples enter the text of the Gospel, which should include only seemingly holy things? Because the recorded refers to each of us. Even the most mild-eyed person can become vindictive if he accumulates in his heart an insult. Even a good-natured person, who has not harmed anyone, if he hides offense on someone, can answer evil himself with time. You were not accepted somewhere, turned around, rejected, and you are ready to already incinerate these people, do not leave a stone on the stone, be given you miraculous power.
A typical manifestation of resentment is an inner experience of damage from someone else's injustice, the consequence is the desire to hit their offenders with fire. Therefore, resentment and revenge are interrelated.
The revenge of the offended is expressed only in the fact that he refuses his neighbor in communication, changes his internal attitude towards him. The person to whom you are offended, retreats in your inner world beyond the limit, beyond the boundaries of love.
Resentment is always unforgiveness. We are therefore offended that we do not forgive our neighbor for his mistakes, infirmities, wrong deeds. But all unforgiveness means one thing - dislike. If you were willing to others, would you have kept something on them because of their mistakes or oversights? Resentment is internal boiling, bubbling of hatred and unforgiveness. This is a confused and rebellious uprising of personal "truth", which wants to defend its rights in this unstable world.
We rely on our personal "truth" as a curve crib, with which we limp around life. The truth of Christ is that we become higher than the wrongs, so that somebody's injustice will not quench the good in our hearts, so that freedom of love and forgiveness will shine in our hearts and we will freeze from the soul the fetters of vengefulness.
Resentment is a sign of the victory of sin over the soul of man. If, after the insult that you caused, you became fired with malice, then, from evil, you became infected with evil. The fire of another's sin was passed on to you, fell all your inner world, and made you a villain. To accumulate grievances in oneself, and even more to nurture the thoughts of revenge is the same as putting burning coals in your bosom and trying to wear them.
Resentment and vindictiveness are a disease of sinful humanity. Christ came to heal us from this disease
Resentment and vindictiveness are a disease of sinful humanity. But it was from this disease that Christ came to heal us. That's why He answered the apostles: You do not know what kind of spirit you are; for the Son of man came not to destroy the souls of men, but to save (Luke 9: 55-56).
A Christian is one who carries within himself the image of Christ, in whom God is reflected in the most clear and pure manner. God is Love, there is no shadow of hatred in Him. God is slow-suffering and merciful, there is not a drop of contempt in Him. And there is no resentment in God either. God punishes, but does not take revenge, for He does not suffer damage from our sins. His punishment is the admonition of His foolish children by the loving Father. God lets the sorrow of a man who has fallen into sin, but does not hold any grudge against anyone.
From the very depths of Calvary suffering, with universal contempt, Christ prayed: Father! forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23: 34), - He did not have a grudge in his heart. The same words were repeated by St. Stephen the First Martyr, when he was stoned, asked for his killers: Lord! Do not imput the sin of this (Acts 7: 60). He who is part of God is one who is part of God's love, that is higher than resentment, because he participates in the kingdom of God, so that others become partakers.
If there was a splinter in our body, and a sharp pain from her did not give us rest, would not we have made an effort to take out the splinter? Any grievance is a splinter, sitting in the depths of the soul, piercing the heart with sharp pain. Splinters must be taken out, and from offenses - get rid of. Resentment is overcome as humility occurs, when the arrogant spirit goes away, just as a gloomy child evaporates from the fresh air. If the offense is a tight hoop, squeezing the soul, then forgiveness is liberation.
One ancient legend says how a Christian slave was brought to an Indian island. He worked so hard that the master eventually set him up as the manager of his entire estate. Once, upon entering the market of slaves, the manager noticed an old, mutilated, sick person and immediately bought it. The owner was surprised by this choice. When everyone started to work, the owner noticed that the manager cares carefully for this old slave. He put him in his dwelling, fed from his desk, strongly guarded him and supported him. The owner thought that the manager had found his relative, and asked if he was his father. "No, he is not a father to me and not even a relative," the manager replied. "Why are you so concerned about him?" - "Yes, because he is my enemy. After all, it was he who sold me once to a slave tradesman. And Christ commands to pay for evil with good. "
Such love, such forgiveness is real freedom, real happiness. May God give each of us a taste of at least a small fraction of the blessings of Christ, gain freedom from resentment and in every way beware of vindictiveness.