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Merciful Heart

Fri­day. [Rom. 11:25–36; Matt. 12:1–8] If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mer­cy, and not sac­ri­fice, ye would not have con­demned the guilt?less. Thus, in order to be saved from the sin of con­dem­na­tion, we must obtain a mer­ci­ful heart. A mer­ci­ful heart not only does not con­demn a seem­ing infringe­ment of the law, but nei­ther will it con­demn an obvi?ous one. Instead of judg­ment it feels pity, and would soon­er weep than reproach. Tru­ly the sin of condem?nation is the fruit of an unmer­ci­ful, mali­cious heart that takes delight in debas­ing its neigh­bor, in black­en­ing its neigh­bor’s name, in tram­pling his hon­or under­foot. This is a mur?derous affair, and is done in the spir­it of the one who is a mur­der­er from the begin­ning [John 8:44]. Here there occurs much slan­der as well, which comes from the same source — for that is what the dev­il is, a slan­der­er, spread­ing slan­der­ous­ness every­where. Hur­ry to arouse pity in your­self every time the evil urge to con­demn comes over you. Then turn in prayer to the Lord with a com­pas­sion­ate heart, that He might have mer­cy upon all of us, not only upon the one whom we want­ed to con­demn, but upon us as well — per­haps even more so up?on us — and the evil urge will die.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse