Standing up against a critical spirit
Fearing the loss of control, we construct a wall of defense around us, keeping authenticity at bay. Fearing rejection, we see ourselves as unlovable, and blame others. Knowing we are inauthentic, we flee from the truth by becoming critical of others. We lie to ourselves, and to others, hiding our insecurity and unworthiness, and walling ourselves off from love. We feel we are unworthy of love, so we reject the love of others, and, ultimately, the love of God.
When confronted with our own critical spirit, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the source of it. Why do we choose to be critical of others, when in truth we are wounded souls, suffering within a cloak of deception? Fault is found in others, only because we dare not face our own inauthentic self.
The fullness of life is knowing ourselves, and giving back to others. When we don’t forgive ourselves for falling short, we blame others. Insecure and unworthy, we reject the love and friendship of others, thinking ourselves unworthy, if they knew the truth. We are fraudulent. We lie to ourselves, and to others. We tell lies big and small, and ultimately, we lie to God. We live in fear that we will be found out, and mask the truth by being critical of others. We seek authority over others, because we are not authentic, and we have no integrity.
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way (Romans 14:10-13).”
With love in Christ,
Tuesday April 9, 2019 / March 27, 2019
Fifth Week of the Great Lent. Tone four.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
St. Matrona of Thessalonica (4th c.).
Martyrs Manuel and Theodosius (304).
Venerable John the Clairvoyant of Lycopolis, anchorite of Egypt (394).
Venerable Cyricus (Quiricus), monk, of Thrace.
Prophet Hanani (Ananias).
Venerable Paul, bishop of Corinth (ca. 925).
Venerable Paphnutius, disciple of St. Anthony the Great (4th c.).
St. Ephraim of Rostov (1454).
Venerable Alexander, abbot of Voche, near Galich (on the Volga) (16th c.).
St. Anthony, metropolitan of Tobolsk (1740).
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos on Mt. Athos “Glykophylousa” (“Sweet-kissing”) and “Of the Akathist”.
St. Rupert, bishop of Salzburg (718).
Martyrs John and Baruch (Greek).
St. Eutyches, monk (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
19 The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
21 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
24 Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
25 “To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
God’s Covenant with Abram
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
7 Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”
8 And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge,
But the heart of the fool does not do so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But He loves him who follows righteousness.
10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,
And he who hates correction will die.
11 Hell and Destruction are before the Lord;
So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.
12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him,
Nor will he go to the wise.
13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
18 A wrathful man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger allays contention.
19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns,
But the way of the upright is a highway.