Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

Criticism

15 Entries

In Categories: Miscellaneous Topics

The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, for man thinks himself better [than others]. For this reason it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as smaller than all, so that he sees the brother as better, in order that he may, with the help of God, be delivered from this evil. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"



2. If something pushes you to criticism about some business or other of a brother or of a monastery, you, rather, try to pray about the matter, without passing it under judgment of your reason. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

If you are enclosed within yourself through prayer, humility, and mourning, you will find a spiritual treasure -- only let pride and criticism be far from you. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

It is one thing to criticize someone and another to be fought against with regard to criticism. To criticize is a great passion, but to be fought against and to fight back -- this is the cause of crowns. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

5. The one must bear the weakness of the other -- who is perfect? Who can boast that he has kept his heart undefiled? So we are all sick, but whoever criticizes his brother does not feel that he is sick; for a sick person does not criticize a sick person. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

Criticism is a serious sin, just as it is likewise serious when someone does not bear the weaknesses of his neighbor. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

Love, endure, overlook, do not get angry, do not become irritated, forgive one another, in order that you resemble our Christ and are counted worthy to be near to Him in His kingdom. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

My children, avoid criticism -- a very great sin. God is grieved whenever we criticize and loathe people. Let us concern ourselves only with our own faults -- for these let us feel pain; let us criticize ourselves and then we will find mercy and grace from God. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

I beg, do not criticize one another, for it is egotism through and through. Let brother excuse fault of brother; this is testimony of humility and love. The brother who does this will find much grace from God, but that one who judges and scandalizes his neighbor must know that he will find no grace, and if he has any he will lose it, in order to learn the lesson of humility through misfortune. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

Be more afraid of interior criticism, criticism in thought -- and this, because it does not come to light through the spoken word, where is it likely to be corrected by those who hear it. Be careful, I say, about criticism from within, which imperceptibly makes us fatally guilty and deprives us of the life of divine grace and offers, as a most bitter drink, the death of the soul. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

How many times do the sacred Gospel and Fathers speak about criticism? It is better to fall from a height than through the tongue. I pray that love and nonjudgmentalness will reign in every expression between you, so that the Holy Spirit may find rest in your souls. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

If we are not attentive, we heap up many criticisms and then repentance is needed; how many times has a person not repented because he spoke? Let us remember the words of Abba Arsenius: As often as I spoke, I repented; as often as I kept silent, I did not repent. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

If, feeling [our way], we many times go astray, how much more by the words of people; for this reason great attention is needed, for the devil roars to devour us. As the many-eyed Cherubim, so ought the Christian to be, for evil has multiplied greatly, especially the fault of criticism, as bread and cheese. May God cleanse us and sanctify us unto His glory. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

Did you see that brother who was negligent and lazy, who did not go down to the all-night vigils and did not do his duties, whom the brothers knew and held to be a negligent brother? When, therefore, he became sick and the hour of his death drew near, the brothers gathered to hear something beneficial, or to comfort him, or in case he wanted to say something to them, but they saw him rejoicing, cheerful.

One brother was scandalized and said, But what do we see in you, brother? We see you rejoicing, while you approach death? But our thought says to us that you were not a violent man and how do you have this courage and this rejoicing face? On what do you base this thing?

Yes, brothers, he said, really I was a negligent person and I did not fulfill my duties. But I achieved one good thing, by the grace of God -- not to criticize any brother and not to scandalize anyone; and never did I allow my heart to have something against my brother of the monastery when the sun set. And inasmuch as I did not judge my brother, I believe that God will not judge me, even me, for He said, Judge not, that you not be judged (Mt. 7:1); and as long as I did not judge, I will not be judged.

The brothers marveled and said, Brother, very easily you found the way of salvation. And the brother died with much joy. REF:Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"



How much hope there is for those who do not trust in themselves too much and are not overly-critical of others! And how little hope for those whose orientation is the opposite! REF:Fr Seraphim Rose, "Letters"





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