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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

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