Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos
Every human character is considered to be ailing if divine grace is absent from it, because this grace perfects and maintains everything, since ‘it cures sicknesses and supplies what is missing’. The Lord stresses this when he says: ‘without me, you can do nothing’ (Jn. 15, 5). But, apart from the presence of grace, it’s also necessary for us to possess the human willingness to cooperate, in accordance with the moral rules of reason and the divine commands, since this will invite divine intervention.
People who are quick to judge others do so because they’re accustomed to investigating the thoughts and actions of others rather than their own. They forget the words of Scripture: ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged’; and ‘by the standards you judge, you will be judged’.
The easy habit of judging the words and actions of others is a spiritual sickness which is brought about by the over-activity of the rational power of the mind and is most likely the product of egotism.
Introversion, which is accompanied by self-condemnation, is held to be necessary for the diagnosis and recognition of our own errors and faults. The essential rule and dogma of life is the Gospel law, without which people can’t walk in uprightness. The ‘law of the spirit of life’ (Rom. 8, 2), which is able to free us from the death towards which we are trundling, marks out new paths of life for us. Love unites ‘the separate into one’ and creates a bond, a communion. It teaches us that ‘we ought to lay down our souls for our brothers and sisters’ (1 Jn. 3, 16); that we should ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Gal. 6, 2); and that everything we do should be done in love (cf. 1 Cor. 16,14).
Ignorance of the teaching of the Gospel allows us to be influenced by what is absurd, and it expels divine grace. If people don’t have knowledge of God and therefore aren’t yet enlightened, they err in their judgments. This is where we take upon ourselves the right to ask ‘why’ and ‘if’ and ‘perhaps’; and this is where judgment, insubordination, disobedience, hatred, and evil in general, all begin.
The Lord offers us relief from all that with his words: ‘I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another ‘(Jn. 13, 34); and ‘in this it shall be known that you are my disciples: if you love one another’ (Jn. 13, 35). Those who have taken care to observe the law of Gospel love, in accordance with the commandment of our Lord, are set free from all-encompassing wickedness. They then no longer judge, attack or abuse. Without any special effort, they’re able to cast off the person they were and whatever is governed by the law of iniquity. Because everything has become subject to love.