St. Theophan the Recluse: Learning Forgiveness
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Wednesday, September 13 (26), 2001
Eph. 3:8-3:21; Mk. 11:23-26

If you do not forgive others their trespasses against you, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses, says the Lord [Mk. 11:26].  Who does not forgive?  Someone who thinks highly of himself: a self-righteous man has no other choice than to condemn, convict and demand punishment for the guilty.  But if I know that I am a sinner, would then the sins of others be of my primary concern?  Would I dare to condemn someone else and demand retribution from him, being condemned by my own conscience, being threatened constantly by the righteous Judgment of the Lord?

Then someone might say in his folly that sin is better than righteousness… of course it isn’t.  Everyone ought to strive for righteousness, but no matter what you are, always regard yourself an unprofitable servant [Lk. 17:10] and make sure to avoid any double-think, that is, pretending on the surface to be unprofitable, while inside still enjoying your supposed righteousness.  Such state of mind does not come for free, it has to be achieved through labor, gradually; but when you achieve it, then you will never condemn your brother for his sins against you, never seek vengeance against him, as your conscience will be always reminding you: “That serves you right, you deserve worse than that…”

So, you will forgive ─ and be forgiven.  Let it be this way through your whole life: forgiveness for forgiveness, and at the Last Judgment it will bring you the absolute forgiveness.