Τρίτη 22 Αυγούστου 2017

Christian life means forgiveness

Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi

Matthew 18:23-35
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23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[a] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi

Photo from here (Buramata Burundi)

Having reflected on the behavior of people in today's society, and comparing some of the behavior which has to do with one identifying himself with this world, on the one hand, with what Holy Scripture teaches, on the other, it is apparent that there is a wide gulf of separation and contradiction between the two. Although Holy Scripture focuses on how a person should relate to God, society teaches that a person should relate to the world and all its ramifications, in order to live a secure and pleasant life with all its benefits.
From the perspective of Holy Scripture, people prefer to live in darkness rather than to have the light of life which is the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason for this is that the forces of evil which emerge from Satan and his co-workers, the fallen angels, have dignified the lie as truth and truth as a lie. Saint Paul speaks on this when he writes that the days now exist wherein good shall be presented as evil, and evil for good. The people, he says, will exchange the truth for a lie.
This is why, when people use worldly knowledge, which is derived from this world, and which is contrary to the knowledge that comes from God, it is easy for them to rationalize human behavior, especially that which is not considered normal, and to give false explanations regarding its existence. Holy Scripture, saying that God's foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of the world, regards much of today's psychological and psychiatric empirical knowledge as missing the mark, and not finding the cause of many disturbances of the soul.

From the teachings of the Orthodox Church we believe that all misbehavior of one form or another is sin, meaning that it is contrary to the divine will.
For one to become godlike, if this is desired, one must attempt to live in conformity to the divine will, whether this is achieved or not. For, as Holy Scripture states, the attempt is equal to the accomplishment. This is the reason that Christ the Lord came into the world--to direct every person, who desires, to be like Him. Envy, anger, frustration, enmity, egotism, hatred of good and, especially, pride are the fruits of evil which come from Satan.
Many people have at times been sorrowful for saying and doing things which they had wished they had never done. Unfortunately, the fact is such behavior cannot be "taken back." Even if they were to die, they could not undo what was done. Time does not go backwards, except in a film or a tape. Everything moves forward.
God, knowing this, provides a way, in His wisdom, for such misbehavior to be undone. Yet, it is not that He undoes anything. What He does is to eliminate the undesired things said and done by forgetting them. We in our finite state can never forget in totality. Only God Who is infinite can "wipe the slate clean." Even though God forgave David the King of his sin, he still wrote down, "My sin is ever before me." David knew that he could never undo what he had said and done. But he believed that God and only He could do this.
It is delusionary for one to think that one can back up an event in his life, whether caused by him or another, to a previous time when the event had not occurred. If this were possible Saint Peter would not have had to break down and weep bitterly for betraying Christ three times. He could never take back or undo what he had done. But, he believed that God would "blot out all my iniquities."

How, then, does one eliminate those things in his life that weigh upon him, things said and done by him or another? Reiterating what was said above, only God can undo that which was grievous. It is God and only God Who wipes away all grievous behavior, all kinds of immorality and crime, all grievous acts which bring about sadness and tragedy. When He was dying on the Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ cried out to the Father, regarding those who had crucified Him, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Only God forgives; only God forgets; only God wipes the slate clean for a new beginning.
In our confused and evil world, how do we, as Orthodox Christians, eliminate from our lives our shortcomings, the sins of commission and the sins of omission? How do we expunge from our minds and our hearts those things that have brought about undesired and intolerable experiences, which consequently have brought on abnormal behavior on our part? There is only one way. Since, as we have said, time can never go backward, God provides the only means to eliminate those sufferings and setbacks in our lives. Saint Peter is one model of this. Even though he had greatly sinned, he went on to become one of the greatest Apostles. He succeeded in this because he knew that Christ the Lord had forgiven him and would never again remind him of the sin. The Lord had wiped away the sin of Saint Peter, since only God can do this.
We, wrapped up with the false wisdom of this world, think that, by our own intelligence and with the assistance of the professionals who study human behavior, we can undo things that we want undone. This is the false pride that comes from the evil forces that tell us that we can perform this work. This falsehood is parallel to Satan's statement to our progenitors when he told them that they would be like God if they partook of the forbidden fruit.
Since all unnatural behavior is the result of our human imperfection, it all falls under the category of error or sin.

We know from Holy Scripture that no one can forgive sins but God. Therefore, when one goes to God and presents to Him his problems, beseeching God's correction and forgiveness, God not only forgives, but says in Holy Scripture that He "remembers our sins no more."
Consequently, how does God eliminate those things in our lives which we try to forget or to erase through drinking, drugs, or by other delusional means? He tells us to confess to Him those things in our lives which bring about our sufferings through our private prayers and especially through the sacrament of Holy Confession. In this sacrament the prayer of absolution is read by the priest, who thereafter tells the penitent, "Go in peace." The sins have all been wiped away through the prayer to God.
It is a paradox, not to say a tragedy, that when one who is sinful and does not repent, asking God's forgiveness, his sins are still with him in the eternal condition. This means that, in the eternal condition, which is called Hell, and where God's forgiveness is not requested by those there, the sins remain unforgiven into all eternity.
As long as we live, we have the opportunity of asking forgiveness for our sins, whether we blame them on others or on ourselves. All we have to do is to go to the church, seeking out the priest who sees himself as our spiritual father, and who willingly prays to God for His mercy and forgiveness, so that our lives may be renewed. When this takes place, we go forth once again into the world, fortified by God's grace to start life anew with the confidence that God Who loves us will always be with us for our continued renewal and for our salvation.

Mateus 18:23-35
A parábola do credor incompassivo

23 Por isso, o Reino dos céus pode comparar-se a um certo rei que quis fazer contas com os seus servos; 24 e, começando a fazer contas, foi-lhe apresentado um que lhe devia dez mil talentos. 25 E, não tendo ele com que pagar, o seu senhor mandou que ele, e sua mulher, e seus filhos fossem vendidos, com tudo quanto tinha, para que a dívida se lhe pagasse. 26 Então, aquele servo, prostrando-se, o reverenciava, dizendo: Senhor, sê generoso para comigo, e tudo te pagarei. 27 Então, o senhor daquele servo, movido de íntima compaixão, soltou-o e perdoou-lhe a dívida. 28 Saindo, porém, aquele servo, encontrou um dos seus conservos que lhe devia cem dinheiros e, lançando mão dele, sufocava-o, dizendo: Paga-me o que me deves. 29 Então, o seu companheiro, prostrando-se a seus pés, rogava-lhe, dizendo: Sê generoso para comigo, e tudo te pagarei. 30 Ele, porém, não quis; antes, foi encerrá-lo na prisão, até que pagasse a dívida. 31 Vendo, pois, os seus conservos o que acontecia, contristaram-se muito e foram declarar ao seu senhor tudo o que se passara. 32 Então, o seu senhor, chamando-o à sua presença, disse-lhe: Servo malvado, perdoei-te toda aquela dívida, porque me suplicaste. 33 Não devias tu, igualmente, ter compaixão do teu companheiro, como eu também tive misericórdia de ti? 34 E, indignado, o seu senhor o entregou aos atormentadores, até que pagasse tudo o que devia. 35 Assim vos fará também meu Pai celestial, se do coração não perdoardes, cada um a seu irmão, as suas ofensas.

От Матфея 18:23-35

23 Царство Небесное можно сравнить с царем, который решил рассчитаться со своими слугами. 24 Когда царь начал расчет, то первым к нему привели того, кто был должен ему десять тысяч талантов[a]. 25 Так как у должника не было чем расплатиться, то царь повелел продать для уплаты долга самого должника, его жену, детей и все их имущество. 26 Слуга пал и, поклонившись ему, стал просить: «Дай мне еще немного времени, и я все выплачу». 27 Царь пожалел слугу, простил ему весь долг и отпустил его.

28 Тот вышел и, встретив такого же слугу, который должен был ему всего сто динариев[b], схватил его и начал душить. «Верни сейчас же все, что ты мне должен», – требовал он. 29 Должник пал ему в ноги и стал умолять: «Дай мне еще немного времени, и я все выплачу». 30 Но тот не захотел ждать и бросил его в темницу, пока не будет выплачен весь его долг. 31 Другие слуги видели, что произошло, и это их возмутило. Они пошли и рассказали все царю.
32 Тогда царь позвал слугу. «Ах ты, негодный слуга, – сказал он, – я по твоей просьбе простил тебе все долги, 33 так неужели и ты не мог простить своего товарища, как и я простил тебя?» 34 Разгневавшись, царь отдал его в руки истязателей до тех пор, пока тот не выплатит весь свой долг.
35 Так и Мой Небесный Отец поступит с вами, если не простите брата от всего сердца.


Matayo 18:23-35
Mfano Wa Mdaiwa Asiyesamehe

23 “Kwa hiyo Ufalme wa mbinguni unaweza kufananishwa na mfalme aliyetaka kukamilisha hesabu zake za fedha na watumishi wake. 24 Alipoanza kukagua hesabu zake, mtu mmoja aliyekuwa na deni la mamilioni ya shilingi, aliletwa kwake. 25 Na kwa kuwa alikuwa hawezi kulipa deni hilo, bwana wake aliamuru kwamba auzwe, yeye, mke wake, watoto wake na vyote alivyo navyo, ili zipatikane fedha za kulipa deni lake.

26 “Yule mtumishi akapiga magoti, akamsihi yule bwana akisema, ‘Naomba univumilie, nitakulipa deni lako lote.’ 27 Yule bwana akamwonea huruma, akafuta deni lake lote, akamwachilia.
28 “Lakini yule mtumishi alipotoka, alikutana na mtumishi mwenzake aliyekuwa amemkopesha shilingi chache. Akamkamata, akam kaba koo akimwambia, ‘Nilipe deni langu!’
29 “Yule mtumishi mwenzake akapiga magoti akamsihi akisema, ‘Naomba univumilie, nitakulipa deni lako lote.’ 30 Lakini akaka taa. Badala yake akampeleka afungwe gerezani mpaka aweze kulipa hilo deni.
31 “Watumishi wenzake walipoona mambo haya, walisikitika sana. Wakamwendea bwana wao wakamweleza yote yaliyotokea.
32 “Yule bwana akamwita yule mtumishi akamwambia, ‘Wewe mtumishi mwovu, uliponisihi, nilikusamehe deni lako lote. 33 Je, hukupaswa kumhurumia mtumishi mwenzako kama mimi nilivyokuhuru mia?’ 34 Kwa hasira yule bwana akamkabidhi yule mtumishi kwa askari wa gereza mpaka atakapomaliza kulipa deni lote.
35 “Na hivi ndivyo Baba yangu wa mbinguni atakavyomfanyia kila mmoja wenu ambaye hatamsamehe ndugu yake kwa moyo.”

See also

Herod’s best friend!
From Herod to ISIS through Christ: No Record of Retribution! (& a lesson from the martyrdom of the African Saint Cyprian of Carthage) 

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