Elder Germanos Stavrovouniotis
There’s love in a Godly manner, but there’s also love in a devilish manner. There’s Godly hatred and also devilish hatred. Godly love is that which springs from the observance of His commandments. Devilish love is demonic, hedonistic, malevolent, such as, for example that which a married man feels for a woman other than his wife, which sometimes reaches the point of him leaving his lawful wife for the sake of the outsider. Demonic love is also that which governs those who fall into sodomite passions. Such forms of ‘love’ are not only repulsive and abhorrent to God, but, if there’s no repentance and change in attitude, He punishes them in exemplary fashion. Godly hatred is hate of sin. Diabolical hatred is hate for all other people, including our enemies. We have to love our neighbors, no matter the harm they done us or the disappointment they’ve caused.
Those who love their neighbors truly, in accordance with God’s will, feel boundless peace and joy within themselves. Those who love falsely, superficially, hypocritically, carnally and hedonistically, are confused and disturbed.
True love is interwoven with the spirit of humility, sacrifice and service to others. Those who love in accordance with God’s will sacrifice their own wishes and rest for the sake of those whom they love. Love which is not in accordance with God’s will is linked to a spirit of egotism and those who ‘love’ in this way don’t sacrifice themselves for others, but expect others to make sacrifices for them.
There’s great wisdom in loving your enemies. When we repay evil with good we become imitators of Christ. Then His grace overshadows us.
The grace of the Holy Spirit inundates us. The saints loved even their persecutors. And it was precisely this that was decisive in Christ’s revealing them to be His real friends, His saints.
Love for your neighbors should be more than mere words and should advance beyond them into deeds. True love illumines with supernatural light the face of those who have it.
The face of those who hate is glowering, scowling and even morose.
True love doesn’t rejoice over the misfortunes of others, nor is it grieved by their success.
Do you want to know what kind of love you have within you? Stand in front of the mirror of chapter 13 of Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians and see if you’re implementing all the things that he refers to: ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’. (I Cor. 13, 4-7).
Love for God and for other people are inextricably linked. One can’t exist without the other. Otherwise we don’t really love God, nor our neighbors, in fact.
We should love those who rebuke us more than those who flatter us.
There’s no true love without the spirit of sacrifice. Christ’s love for us is inseparably linked to His sacrifice on the Cross. Love and the Cross are conjoined.
Combat the hatred others show towards you with the weapon of love that you will point at them. Show love to those who show you evil. Thus and only thus is there any hope of transforming their malevolence towards you into kindness.
Those who have evil within them taste death; those who have love taste eternal life.
The most splendid and effective way of gaining revenge on those who’ve harmed you is to do a good deed for them.
The heavens open wide for those who truly love Christ with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind; and their neighbors as themselves (cf. Luke 10, 27).
Where there’s love there’s God. Where there’s hatred there’s the devil.
The devil will project all sorts of suspicions and fancies to make you dislike and turn against other people. Reject them with all your might and confess them with all the humility you can muster.
There’s no room in the Kingdom of Heaven for those who don’t have room in their soul for love of their enemies.