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The wicked shall fall by his own wickedness

The wicked shall fall by his own wickedness (Prov. 11: 5).[1] Im­ piety is an incorrect relationship to God, or complete forgetfulness of God, to which belong also unbelief in the existence of God and in His providence for creatures. Some souls, being oppressed by wicked thoughts like these, but desiring nevertheless to be respectable in­ dividuals, resolve, “I will be up­ right, honest, and humane, not oc­ cupying myself with whether there is something higher than me which observes me, has expectations of me, and is able to demand an ac­ count.” And what is the result? The blessing of God — which they do not seek — does not abide with them, and their affairs do not pros­ per. Their conscience daily reminds them about their deeds either of un­ righteousness, dishonesty or inhu­ manity. They only make a show of righteousness before other people in order to justify themselves, sharply fending off accusation, and falsely interpreting facts as needed. He whose conscious is inwardly blameless has no need of self-justifi­ cation. Those who are not attentive to themselves allow this inner dis­ cord to slip by: those who are atten­ tive control this with difficulty. Oh, when will one of such people con­ scientiously look at this discord, and discern where it comes from and how to set it right? He could then both set himself right and direct others toward the proper harmony.

[1] The Slavonic for Prov. 11:5 reads: The impious shall fall by his own impiety.

Saint Theophan the Recluse

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