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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