Correcting others is like hitting them
When focusing on the sins of others, we set for ourselves the mission of correcting them. We see ourselves as just the right person to help this poor unfortunate person by pointing out their sins, and telling them how they can be a better person. We are not of course being critical, but helpful. Don’t take offense, we say, for we are only trying to help you see your flaws, that you can become a good person. We are pointing out your error because we love you, and as a caring person we only want what is best for you.
In truth, such a spirit of correction is likely to be counterproductive. Our corrections can be like hitting the person, and our critical analysis of their behavior, or personality, or even their sins, can cause more damage than good. If we truly wish to help them, we will offer good and kind thoughts, speak with words of love and encouragement, and pray for them. We are not doing them a favor by serving as their self appointed therapist, passing judgement on their behavior, and correcting them as though we were an official appointed by the court. Words of encouragement are far more likely to help the person change, than critical feedback.
Demonstrating the Christian life is far more profitable for those we’d like to help, for when we live Christ, grace abounds, and others see the love we have for them, and are in turn drawn to that which we have. Only Christ can change the heart, lead the sinner to repentance, and bring about healing. We can be the agent of this transformation by allowing Christ’s love to shine through us, and by demonstrating His transformational grace by how we live, and how we love, and how we do not judge.
It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to live for Christ, and to love others, and to be transformed. Only the grace of God can change hearts, and we must not allow our own critical spirit to hinder the world of the Holy Spirit.
With love in Christ,
Photos: Our Holy Nativity celebration.
Friday January 8, 2021 / December 26, 2020
31st Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Hieromartyr Euthymius, bishop of Sardis (840).
Venerable Isaac II (Bobrikov, the Younger), archimandrite of Optina (1938).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander and Demetrius priests (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas, Michael, Nicholas priests and Michael deacon (1930).
New Hieromartyrs Leonidas bishop of Mariysk, Alexander priest, hieromartyr Basil and Virgin-martyrs Anthisa and Makaria (1937).
New Hieromartyr Andrew, Archbishop Of Ufa (1937) and New Martyr, Valentina, (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Gregory priest and Virgin-martyrs Augusta and Mary, Martyr Agrippina (1938).
Venerable Constantine, monk, of Synnada (9th c.).
Venerable Evaristus of the Studion Monastery (825).
St. Nicodemus of Tismana, Romania (1406).
“Vilen-Ostrabramsk”, “Three Joys” or “Merciful”, ” Barlovsk” (1392) or “the Blessed Womb”, “Baibuzsk” (1852) Icons of the Mother of God.
New Hieromartyr Constantius the Russian, at Constantinople (1743).
Venerable Nicodemus the Serbian (Serbia).
St. Archelaus, bishop of Kaskhara in Mesopotamia (3rd c.).
St. Zenon, bishop of Maiuma in Palestine (4th c.).
St. Tathai, abbot of Llantathan.
The Scripture Readings
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
13 And again:
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like Hisbrethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
The Home in Nazareth
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”