The sin of condemnation is one of the most insidious, insinuating, unreadable and therefore the most common sins. He is easily camouflaged: condemning, we see in this the manifestation of our own morality, justice, and also intelligence, insight: "I see who he is, I can not be fooled." Unlike the sins committed by the action, the sin of verbal condemnation in most cases does not bear directly observable practical consequences: said - and what? We can assume that he did not. As for the condemnation of the mental, this is a constant involuntary brain work, over which few of us can reflect, and a chronic inflammation of the nerves, which too few people avoid. Many of us have got used to say in the confession "I sin condemnation" as something on duty-formal - it's clear who does not sin!
However, we must ponder: why such attention was paid to this sin by the holy fathers, teachers of the Church? What exactly are we doing, condemning others? And how can we, if not get rid of it, at least begin to fight this evil in our souls?
On conviction - another conversation with the editor-in-chief of our magazine hegumen Nektar (Morozov).
"Father Nektariy, we have already tried to determine the reasons for the prevalence of this sin - are there any others?"
- The sin of condemnation is common, as is the sin of lies, like all sins that we commit solely by word. These sins are convenient, easy to administer, because, unlike sins committed by deeds, they do not require any special conditions, circumstances - our language is always with us. It seems to me that there are two main reasons for the condemnation: firstly, whatever we think about ourselves or say, we really feel very well our imperfection, we understand that we do not hold out to what we would like to be. For the unbeliever, this sense of one's own imperfection lies in one plane, for the believer, the church person in the church - in another: we understand that we do not live the way Christians should live, our Christian conscience accuses us of this. And here there are two ways: either selflessly to work on yourself, in order to achieve peace with your conscience, or to condemn others, in order to look even slightly better on their background; so as to assert itself at the expense of the neighbor. But here comes into play that spiritual law, about which the holy fathers wrote much: looking at the sins of others, we cease to notice our own. And having ceased to notice our own sins and shortcomings, we become especially ruthless to the sins and shortcomings of others.
Why were the saints so compassionate to the infirmities of their neighbors? Not only because Divine love lived in their hearts, but also because they themselves, on their own experience, knew how difficult it is to overcome sin in oneself. Passing through this terrible internal struggle, they could no longer condemn someone who had fallen: they understood that they themselves could have fallen or fallen, perhaps in the past in exactly the same way. Abba Agathon, when he saw the man who sinned, always said to himself: "Look how he fell: you will also fall tomorrow. But he, most likely, will repent, but will there be time for repentance? ".
This is one reason for condemnation, and the other is the abundance of very real reasons for conviction. Man - being fallen, damaged by sin, and examples of behavior deserving condemnation, is always enough. Another question - worthy of someone's condemnation? Divine condemnation - yes. And we - do we have the right to condemn?
- But how not to condemn when faced with baseness, meanness, rudeness, savage brutality? .. In such cases, condemnation is the natural self-defense of a human being.
- That's it - natural. And to be a Christian, you need to overcome your nature. And to live in a kind of supernatural way. We ourselves will not succeed, but with God's help everything is possible.
- And cope with the condemnation, too, of course; But what should we do for this?
- First of all - do not give yourself the right to judge someone, remember that the court belongs to God. This is very difficult indeed, each of us knows how difficult it is not to give ourselves the right to judge. Remember the Gospel commandment: Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7, 1). There is a well-known example from the patericon: a monk who was considered to be the most negligent in the monastery, died in such a quiet heart, in such a world with God, in such joy that the brothers were perplexed: how is it, because you did not live in an ascetic life, why did not you so you die? He replied: yes, I did not live very well, but I never condemned anyone. Fear of being condemned is the barrier that you can put yourself in order not to sin by condemnation.
But personally, I am close to that way of fighting the condemnation, about which the Monk Anatoly Optinsky spoke. He clothed him in such a short formula: pity - and you will not condemn. As soon as you begin to feel sorry for people, the desire to condemn them disappears. Yes, it is not always easy to regret, but without this one can not live in a Christian way. You speak of the natural self-protection of man from evil; yes, we suffer from evil, from another's sin, we feel sorry for ourselves, we are scared, and we want to defend ourselves. But if we are Christians, we must understand - in this case, not so much we as the one who does evil, is unhappy. After all, he will have to answer for this evil with some terrible, perhaps, way. When this truly Christian pity for a sinful person is born, the desire to judge is lost. And in order to learn to regret, to force your heart to this pity, you must pray for this man. It has long been known: you begin to pray - and the desire to condemn disappears. Words that, perhaps, still speak, are not filled with such a destructive force that they were filled with before, and then you generally stop talking about them. But we should forget about prayer - and the condemnation, which has already plunged into the depths, again breaks to the surface.
- And what else is needed, in addition to praying for enemies - so that aggression and anger can be melted into pity for them? Maybe a vision of your own sinfulness?
- Another Optina old man, the Monk Ambrose, who loved to clothe his spiritual lessons in a half-joking form, said: "Know yourself - and it will be with you." In the soul, in the heart of each one of us is such an immense world, a world with which one must have time to understand the earthly life. We have so much time to do with ourselves, and how often we do not find time or energy for this. But when we take up other people, for the analysis of their sins - time and power for some reason are. To judge others is the best way to escape from yourself, from working on yourself, which in fact should be our most important business.
Reading about the saints, you often think: how did he, this saint, live in the very heart of temptations, in the very midst of human sin, besides he confessed hundreds, thousands of people who committed, perhaps, terrible sins - and he seemed not to notice everything this, lived like it is not? And he was busy trying to fix, cleanse from sin a tiny particle of this world - himself. And therefore was not situated to deal with the sins and infirmities of other people. And to pray - yes, he prayed for them and therefore regretted. For me, Archimandrite Cyril (Pavlov) will always be a visible example of such a life, a man from whom it was practically impossible to hear the word of condemnation. He just did not evaluate anyone ever! Although he had a great number of bishops, clergy, monks, just Orthodox laymen. He did not judge anyone, first, because he pitied, and secondly, because he was always busy mourning his own sins. Sins that were not visible to us, but he himself was noticeable.
- However, all of us are compelled to talk about people around us, judge them, understand them, and finally - it is necessary in our personal lives (so as not to break the firewood in it, not make yourself and your loved ones unhappy), and at work (so that, For example, do not trust the case to a person who can not be trusted with it). We have to talk about someone's qualities out loud, discuss them - again, and at work, and at home, you can not get away from it. Where is the line between the necessary and adequate discussion - and the condemnation of a person?
- St. Basil the Great formulated a wonderful principle that determines when we have the right to say something negative about a person and not fall into the sin of condemnation. This is possible in three cases: first, when we see the need to tell our neighbor about his lack or sin for his own good, in order to help him. Secondly, when it is necessary to say about his infirmities to someone who can correct it. And thirdly, when you need to warn about his shortcomings of someone who can suffer from them. When we talk about hiring, appointing to a position or getting married, this falls under the third point of this "rule". Solving these issues, we think not only about ourselves, but also about the case and about other people, about how they can be harmed by our mistake in man. But as for work, it is especially important to be as objective and impartial as possible, so that our personal and selfish motives are not mixed with our assessment of a person. How much can we be fair here? How much can a person be just? As Abba Dorotheus used to say, the curve was right and the straight curve. There is always the possibility of error. But even if we are as objective and fair as possible, even if our judgment about the person is absolutely correct - we still have a lot of opportunities to sin. For example, we can talk about a person fairly, but with passion, with anger. We can be absolutely right, but in some critical situation it is absolutely unmerciful to a guilty person, and this too will be a sin. It's almost impossible for us to express our opinion about a person - let it be an unbiased, fair, objective - and we would not have to return to these our words when we come to the church for confession.
I can not help saying again about Cyril's father. When he was asked questions about specific people (for example, about difficult situations involving other people) - he never answered immediately, between the question and the answer was always the distance. Father Cyril not only pondered the answer, he prayed that the answer was correct, he would give himself time to calm down his own feelings, so that he would not answer from his own spiritual movement proceeding, but according to God's will. There is a proverb: "The word is silver, and silence is gold." But Father Cyril on such scales weighed his words about people, that they proceeded from silence and remained gold. If any of us try to talk about others exclusively in this way, with such a measure of responsibility, then his word will be cleansed of human passions, and he, perhaps, will not sin by condemnation, mercy, anger, what we usually sin in such cases.
- Is there any righteous anger?
- An example of righteous anger is given to us by the Third Book of Kings, this is the wrath of the holy prophet Elijah of God. However, we see: the Lord - although He closed the heavens by the prayers of the prophet and there was no rain - he wanted something else: he wanted His prophet to learn love. Charity and love are more pleasing to God than righteous anger. The Rev. Isaac the Syrian writes: "Never call God just, He is not just, He is merciful." And we, feeling the approach of anger, should remember this. Unfortunately, we periodically meet people - sincere believers, Orthodox, but convinced that Orthodoxy should be with kulaks. These people refer, as a rule, to Joseph Volotsky, to his views on the struggle against heresies, which even led to the executions of heretics in Russia (thank God that this did not enter the system, it remained only an isolated episode, for there was a counterbalance - a point of view Reverend Nil of Sorsky), to St. Nicholas, who allegedly struck the heretic Arius (although historically this episode is doubtful), and, finally, to John Chrysostom, who called to block the mouth of the blasphemer with a blow. But all these examples are an exception, not a rule. And if we remember the consonant doctrine of the holy fathers, we remember the Gospel, we know that everyone who takes the sword will perish with the sword (Matthew 26, 52). If the blow on the cheek Aria really was inflicted, this was, perhaps, a manifestation of jealousy on the part of the archbishop of the Lycian Peace - but where in a modern man who urgently calls to "consecrate a hand with a stroke" is such confidence - that he possesses the virtues of St. Nicholas? Where did we get that for St. John Chrysostom this was the norm, and not the exception - "to block the mouth with a blow"? Therefore, we do not need to "sanctify our hands" and block someone else's mouth with blows. No need to beat anyone "for the Orthodox faith." For the Orthodox faith you only need to beat your own sin. It is a very great temptation to direct anger not to fight against oneself, but to fight against others. If we are not fighting with others but fighting our own sin, we will open the chain of evil, hatred, fear, we will not continue, but we will open it. Lord, do you want us to say that fire came down from heaven and destroyed them, as Elijah did? But He, turning to them, forbade them and said: you do not know what kind of spirit you are (Luke 9, 54-55).
- Perhaps, it is possible to say this: for a righteous anger, only a saint has the right?
- Paisiy Svyatogorets said: "The more spiritual a person is, the less rights he has." It is from our point of view that we can talk about some special rights of the holy man in relation to others, and the saints themselves did not have any special rights for themselves. On the contrary, in the lives we read as a saint, hardly uttering a word condemning another person, immediately fell to his knees and repented of involuntary sin.
"If our neighbor offends us, it hurts us or some harm - should we tell him about this, and if necessary, how can we prevent his condemnation?"
- I do not think that in such situations it is necessary to tolerate silence. Because the wordless, uncomplaining patience of sorrows brought by others, can only be exercised by people of a perfect life. If the neighbor hurts us - why not invite him to talk, understand, do not ask him, does he not think we are wrong in something, have we offended him by something ourselves? When both people are well-meaning, the situation will be resolved. But if a person hurt us consciously and maliciously - there are two ways: to try to neutralize it or, perhaps, suffer, if it is possible. If not, get out of the impact - this is no sin. The Savior himself commanded: "When they persecute you in one city, flee to another city" (Matthew 10, 23). We, in order to protect ourselves from the evil caused by man, sometimes we just have to stop opening before him. To lower the visor so that it prevents it from inflicting the blow that will bring harm - not only to ours, but to his soul.
- The sin of condemnation is directly connected with the sin of lies and slander. I was amazed that Abba Dorotheus and other spiritual writers used the word "lie" in a slightly different meaning, not in the way that we are used to. For us, a lie is a conscious deception undertaken with some (once even good) goal. For them is something that we very rarely notice for ourselves: irresponsible utterance, the speaking of certain words, whether the corresponding truth, or not; uttering this in the usual stream of our idle talk, we do not even think about whether our words correspond to other people of reality. The anger, gossip, "washing of the bones" are all from this opera. How to get out of this?
- This is a question about the care of our lives, about how we pay attention to ourselves. A considerate person has lost a penchant for frivolous, hasty judgments. If a person lives without thinking, he goes from one confusion to another. And the Rev. Isaac the Syrian called the confusion the chariot of the devil: in confusion, as in a chariot, the enemy enters our souls and turns everything upside down in them. And the inverted person judges others at his first impulse, without giving himself the trouble to think about the justice of his judgments.
We often begin to judge others from our own infirmities - we are tired by the insults, from the blows, from the pain, and we are frustrated and begin to discuss these our wounds with someone. Be patient for a while, do not tell anyone about your offense - and, perhaps, condemnation will die in you. And there will come a weakening, a rest for the soul. But we do not find the strength to suffer, and here another spiritual law, about which the holy fathers speak, is working: condemning, you are deprived of the help of God, the blessed cover. And almost always you commit that sin for which you condemned another person. The fear of losing God's help is another helper in overcoming the sin of condemnation. Remarkable Elder Ephraim Katunaksky served the Divine Liturgy throughout his life every day and every time experienced it as a unique joyful event for himself and the world. But somehow I did not feel the divine joy - why? "Brother came to me alone, we discussed the actions of the bishops and condemned somebody" - he explained this so. He began to pray, felt that the Lord forgives him, and said to himself: "If you want to lose the Liturgy again, condemn it."
- You said already about the abundance of reasons for conviction. How to avoid heart anger, watching what happens to our society, with the country, knowing about the colossal corruption, watching the demoralization of society, intentional, for commercial purposes, corrupting youth? This is civil pain, civil protest, but this is also anger, too - do we sin against them?
- The feeling you are talking about is very close and understandable to me. And I'm looking for myself the answer to this question. The reason for the moral state of our society is that it is in us, too. But if we were to take unjust life as normal, if we were now well, we would not have any excuse at all. We are used to dividing the history of our country into two parts: before the catastrophe of 1917 (it is a kind of good life) and after - this is our life, bad. But let's ask ourselves the question: what, before the revolution, was the religious life of the people-everything from top to bottom-ideal? People themselves departed from living faith, no one dragged him by the hand. So, the people themselves made a choice and got what they chose. And the example of the Israeli people tells us this: when the Jews betrayed the One God, they suffered disasters, oppression, were enslaved; When they rejected His Son, they dispersed throughout the world. Imagine if we had ideal power now, she thoughtfully would have cared about the people, there would be prosperity ... Would we become purer, more righteous, closer to God from this? No. But, if we were so far from God in conditions of even relative prosperity - His judgment would be more severe to us. The Lord, perhaps, sends us all this, our whole life so that we finally understand that we should not rely on "the princes, the sons of man" -we need only rely on Him. That we turn from this thought to Him and change for the better. Condemns the one who believes that he is worthy of a better life, better people, better power, who thinks: with me, everything is in order, but they are ... But in fact, we must start with ourselves. Because nothing in this world can not be fixed until you correct yourself.