Do Not Judge, See Good

Wisdom from Dorotheus of Gaza:

The Fathers teach us that nothing is more serious than judging your neighbor. Despite this, such a serious evil is committed even for things, let’s say, of little seriousness.

It all begins with vague suspicions and thoughts like this: “What is so-and-so saying? What harm is there in going in to see what that person is up to?” The mind quickly forgets its own sins and becomes all the more interested in the actions of others. This results in rash judgments, slander, and contempt. In the end the mind falls into the same sins it condemns in others.

When someone ceases to worry about his own sins and, as the Fathers say, “is not concerned about his death,” it is absolutely impossible for him to be corrected. Such a person does nothing but stick his nose into his neighbor’s affairs. And nothing annoys God so much or makes people so miserable as speaking evil of one’s neighbor and judging him.

Dorotheus of Gaza

Abba Dorotheus

I heard of one person that when he came to one of his friends and found the room in disarray and even dirty, he would say to himself: “Blessed is this person, because having deferred his concerns for earthly cares, he has concentrated his mind that much toward Heaven, that he doesn’t even have time to tidy up his room.” But when he came to another friend’s place and found his room tidy and neat, he would say to himself; “The soul of this person is as clean as his room, and the condition of the room speaks of his soul.” And he never judged another that he was negligent or proud, but through his kind disposition, saw good in everyone and received benefits from everyone. May the good Lord grant us the same kind disposition, so that we too may receive benefits from everyone and so that we never notice the failings of others.

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