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Tempting and Condemnation

[I Tim. 4:4–8, 16; Luke 16:15–18, 17:1–4]

It is impos­si­ble but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! There­fore, one can­not live off­hand, unin­hib­it­ed­ly. One must look around care­ful­ly not to tempt any­one. The mind is arro­gant and does not look at any­one; but it arous­es temp­ta­tions all around in deed, and even more, in word. Tempt­ing increas­es and mag­ni­fies the woe of the tempter, but he does not sense this and even fur­ther expands his temp­ta­tions. It is good that God’s threat in return for tempt­ing here, on the earth, is almost nev­er ful­filled in hopes of cor­rec­tion; it is put off until the future judge­ment and ret­ri­bu­tion; only then will the tempters feel how great is the evil of tempt­ing. Here almost nobody thinks about whether he tempts or doesn’t tempt those around him in his deeds and words. Two sins which are very great in the eyes of God are not regard­ed as any­thing by peo­ple: tempt­ing and con­dem­na­tion. The tempter, accord­ing to the word of the Lord, would be bet­ter off not alive; he who con­demns is already con­demned. But nei­ther the for­mer nor the lat­ter think about it and can­not even say whether they sin in any such way. What blind­ness, indeed, sur­rounds us and how care­less­ly we walk in the midst of death!

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse