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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