Dorotheos2Condemning a man is saying ‘he is a wicked liar,’ or ‘he is an angry man,’ or ‘he is a fornicator.’

For in this way one judges the condition of his soul and draws a conclusion about his whole life, saying it is of such a kind and condemns him as such.

This is a very serious thing. For it is one thing to say, ‘He got mad’, and another thing to say, ‘He is bad-tempered’, and to reveal, as we said, the whole disposition of his life. It is serious to judge a man for each one of his sins.

As Christ himself says, ‘Hypocrite, first take the board from your own eye, then you can see to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’

[…] That Pharisee who was praying and giving thanks to God for his own good works was not lying but speaking the truth, and he was not condemned for that.

For we must give thanks to God when we are worthy to do something good, as he is then working with us and helping us.

Because of this he was not condemned…because he said, ‘I am not like other men’, but he was condemned because he said, ‘I am not like this tax-collector’.

It was then that he made a judgment. He condemned a person and the dispositions of his soul—to put it shortly, his whole life. Therefore, the tax-collector rather than the Pharisee went away justified.

[…] Why do we not rather judge ourselves and our own wickedness which we know so accurately and about which we have to render an account to God?

Why do we usurp God’s right to judge? Why should we demand a reckoning from his creature, his servant?

[…] An angel brought Isaac the Theban the soul of someone who had fallen into sin, and said to him, ‘Here is the person you have judged. He has just died. Where do you order him to be put, into the Kingdom or into eternal punishment?’

Can you imagine a more terrible situation to be in? What else could the angel mean by these words than, ‘Since you want to be the judge of the just and the unjust, what do you command for this poor soul? Is he to be spared or to be punished?’

The holy old man…spent the rest of his life praying with sighs and tears…, for the angel said to him, ‘You see, God has shown you how serious a thing it is to judge; you must never do it again.’

Dorotheos of Gaza (505-565 or 620): Discourses and Sayings, trans. Eric P. Wheeler (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1977) @ Orthodox Christian Information Center.

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