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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

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