As fire is not extinguished by fire, so anger is not conquered by anger,
but is made even more inflamed.
But meekness often subdues even the most beastly enemies,
softens them and pacifies them.
Tikhon of Zadonsk
(icon image of St Tikhon of Zadonsk)
“It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved.
To look upon another–
his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects–
is to look upon one who is suffering.
He is suffering from negative passions,
from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer.
This is very important:
do not look upon him with the judgmental eyes of comparison,
noting the sins you assume you would never commit.
Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer,
a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need.
pray for him,
do unto him as you would have him do unto you.”
St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
I caught this quote this morning while playing catch up reading over several blogs.
An Orthodox monk offered the quote and when I read that very first line,
its was if St. Tikhon reached out across space and time,
grabbing me by both shoulders while proceeding to shake me to consciousness.
“It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved….”
Ruminate over those words for a minute…letting them sink in…
“It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved…”
Not just that it is a fearful thing to hate, but he adds, whom God loves.
As in doubly significant…
It is an ominous observation that transcends time.
St. Tikhon was a Russian Monk who lived in a monastery in Zadonsk during the 18th century.
He is venerated as a saint within the Orthodox Church.
And his observational words are as timely today as they were in mid 1700’s Russia.
The wisdom of those who have trod the very earth of this planet prior to our own wanderings,
have much to offer those of us today struggling to manage our lives.
Have we as Christians not been told repeatedly that God loves each of us…
each last individual one of us???
All 7,465,271,925…of us
(click on the world population meter and this number will have grown considerably
by the time you are reading these words…
it is almost frightening how fast the counter rolls off number after number…
Turn on any television,
read andy news feed,
watch any current banter, particularly in the US,
and you will see right fast that there is very little if any love roaming about
this great Nation of ours.
Yet St. Tikhon tells us that it is a fearful thing, as in bad…as in really really bad,
not to love those whom God loves.
And don’t we know, aren’t we told that God loves everyone…
Not just Christians…but Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, Muslims…
If you can name them, He loves them…
as well as those you can’t name.
Remember the words of the prophet…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Let that sink in.
He knew you…as in you and you alone….
and He knew me and all those people now around us…
He even knows and loves those who you now hold with great disdain….
let that sink in…
For whom you hold with disdain,
for whom you loath,
for whom you distrust,
for whom you can’t stand,
for whom you claim to hate…
He, in turn, knows and loves.
And now remember the words of the saint…
Pray for them
And love them as He loves you….
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,
for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.