Nil_SorskyIf we’re troubled by anger and it urges us to consider an injury and to return with interest the damage that someone has inflicted on us, then we should think upon the words of the Lord, Who said:

“For unless you forgive people their trespasses, Your Father will not forgive you yours” (Matth. 6, 15).

It follows, therefore, that people who want their sins to be forgiven are obliged first and foremost to forgive others with all their heart.

Because this is how God has taught us to seek forgiveness for our own transgressions. And if we don’t forgive, it’s obvious that our sins won’t be forgiven.

[…] This is why we should never become angry, nor do any harm to our fellow human beings, not only with words and deeds, but even by changing the way we look at them. Because we can disdain others merely by a look, according to the Fathers.

The perfect victory over thoughts of anger is to pray for the person who has provoked them, as Abba Dorotheos advises when he says:

“God, help my brother, and through his prayers have mercy upon me, sinner that I am. Because to pray for other people means love and affection, and to ask for their prayers means humility”.

We should even do them good, as far as we can, because then we’ll be carrying out the commandment of God that says: “Love your enemies… do well to those who hate you and pray for those who trouble you and persecute you” (Matth. 5, 44).

To those who live by this, the Lord has promised not only the Kingdom of Heaven, some sort of rest or a gift such as those we have in the present, but the very inheritance of adoption, because He says: “Thus you will become children of your father who is in heaven” (Matth. 5, 45).

And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who instituted this commandment and promised this great recompense, carried out everything He taught, giving us Himself as an example, so that we might imitate Him, insofar as we can.

How many punishments did He endure from the Jews for us sinners, and not only did He refrain from anger, but prayed for them to His heavenly Father saying: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke, 23, 24).

In the same way, all the saints walked this path and acquired divine grace, returning good to their persecutors instead of evil. They also prayed for them and covered the sins they saw them committing and taught them with sincerity and affection.

Nil Sorsky (Russian Orthodox; c. 1433–1508): The Passions of Avarice, Anger, Sorrow and Sloth @ Pemptousia.

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