Reading for the Friday of the 4th Week after Pentecost
Rom. 11:25-36; Matt. 12:1-8
If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless (Matt. 12:7).
Therefore, in order to be saved from the sin of condemnation, we must obtain a merciful heart. Not only does a merciful heart not condemn a seeming infringement of the law, but neither does it condemn an obvious one. Instead of judgment it feels pity, and it would sooner weep than reproach. Truly the sin ot condemnation is the fruit of an unmerciful, malicious heart that takes delight in debasing its neighbor, in blackening its neighbor’s name, in trampling his honor underfoot. This is a murderous affair, and is done in the spirit of the one who is a murderer from the beginning (cf. John 8:44). Here there occurs much slander as well. which comes from the same source, for that is why the devil is the devil—he is a slanderer, spreading slander everywhere. Hasten to arouse pity in yourself every time the evil urge to condemn comes over you. Then turn in prayer to the Lord with a compassionate heart, that He might have mercy upon all of us, not only upon the one whom we wanted to condemn, but upon us as well—perhaps even more so upon us—and the evil urge will die.
St. Theophan the Recluse: Thoughts for Each Day of the Year