Conceit

“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” ~Galatians 5:26

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Elder Paisios quote

I really love Elder Paisios. This comes from Fr. Luke Hartung who is in the process of translating his work:

I once asked someone: “What type of warrior do you consider yourself to be?  Christ’s warrior or temptation’s warrior? Are you aware that the evil of temptation also has its own warriors?”
 
A Christian must not be fanatic; he must have love for and be sensitive towards all people. Those who inconsiderately toss out comments, even if they are true, can cause harm.  

I once met a theologian who was extremely pious, but who had the habit of speaking to the (secular) people around him in a very blunt manner; his method penetrated so deeply that it shook them very severely.  He told me once: “During a gathering, I said such and such a thing to a lady.” But the way that he said it, crushed her. “Look”, I said to him, “you may be tossing golden crowns studded with diamonds to other people, but the way that you throw them can smash heads, not only the sensitive ones, but the sound ones also.”
 
Let’s not stone our fellow-man in a so-called “Christian manner.”  The person who – in the presence of others – checks someone for having sinned (or speaks in an impassioned manner about a certain person), is not moved by the Spirit of God; he is moved by another spirit. 

The way of the Church is LOVE; it differs from the way of the legalists. The Church sees everything with tolerance and seeks to help each person, whatever he may have done, however sinful he may be. 
  
I have observed a peculiar kind of logic in certain pious people. Their piety is a good thing, and their predisposition for good is also a good thing; however, a certain spiritual discernment and amplitude is required so that their piety is not accompanied by narrow-mindedness or strong-headedness. Someone who is truly in a spiritual state must possess and exemplify spiritual discernment; otherwise he will forever remain attached to the “letter of the Law”, and the letter of the Law can be quite deadly.

A truly humble person never behaves like a teacher; he will listen, and, whenever his opinion is requested, he responds humbly. In other words, he replies like a student.  He who believes that he is capable of correcting others is filled with egotism. 

A person that begins to do something with a good intention and eventually reaches an extreme point, lacks true discernment. His actions exemplify a latent type of egotism that is hidden beneath this behavior; he is unaware of it, because he does not know himself that well, which is why he goes to extremes.  

Quite often, people begin with good intentions, but look where they may find themselves! This was the case with the “icon-worshippers” and the “iconoclasts” of the past: both cases were extremes!  The former had reached the point of scraping off icons of Christ and placing the scrapings into the Holy Chalice in order to “improve” Holy Communion; the latter, on the other hand, burnt and totally discarded all icons. That is why the Church was obliged to place the icons in higher places, out of reach, and, when the dispute was over, lowered them so that we can venerate them and thus confer the appropriate honor to the persons portrayed therein….

Pride/Humility

“Blessed is he who humbles himself in all things, for he will be exalted in all. For a man who for God’s sake humble himself, and thinks meanly of himself, is glorified by God. The man who hungers and thirsts for God’s sake, God will make drunk with His good things. And he who goes naked for God’s sake is clad by Him in a robe of incorruption and glory. And he who becomes poor for His sake is consoled with His true riches.” ~ St. Isaac the Syrian.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6

“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” ~ Galatians 5:26

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” ~ 1Peter 5:5

“I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get through from such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility.'” ~ St. Anthony the Great

“A brother at Scetis was preparing to go to the harvest and he went to see an old man and said to him, ‘Tell me what I should do when I go harvesting.’ The old man said to him, ‘If I tell you, will you believe me?’ The brother said, ‘Yes I am listening to you.’ The old man said to him, ‘If you trust me, go and give up this harvesting, come here and I will tell you what to do.’ So the brother gave up harvesting and came to live with the old man. The old man said to him, ‘Go into your cell, spend fifty days eating dry bread and salt only once a day, and come back and I will tell you what else to do.’ The brother went away, did this, then came back to the old man. The old man, seeing that he was a worker, taught him how to live in the cell. The brother went away to his cell and prostrated himself to the ground, weeping before God. After this, when his thoughts said to him, ‘You are trained, you have become a great man’, he placed his sins before his eyes, saying, ‘And where are all my omissions?’ But when his thoughts in the opposite sense said to him, ‘You have committed many sins’, he in his turn replied, ‘Yet I say my few prayers to God, and I trust that God will have mercy on me.’ Being overcome, the evil spirits appeared to him openly saying, ‘We have been disturbed by you.’ He asked them why. They said to him, ‘When we exalt you, you run to humility; but when we humiliate you, then you rise up.'” ~ From the Desert Fathers

“An old man was asked, ‘What is humility?’ He replied, ‘It is when your brother sins against you and you forgive him before he comes to ask for forgiveness.‘ ” ~ From the Desert Fathers.

“We should grow neither too bold nor fall into despair, whatever happens to us, whether good or bad.” ~ St Peter of Damaskos.