Christians, above all men, are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force…it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice. –Saint John Chrysostom

The use of force in the correction of those who are living in opposition to the laws of God is often a temptation for Christians, yet it must be remembered that the sins of others is better corrected by lovingly demonstrating their value in God’s eyes. Demonstrating our own love for them by refusing to demonize them with our judgement and harsh treatment, we become agents of the love of Christ. In seeing ourselves as the worst of sinners, and demonstrating our personal gratitude for God’s love and mercy in our own lives, projects that hope of redemption, and forgiveness, to the persons living in sin. Our love for them helps open their hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit. God’s grace can change any heart, and we must be sure we are not the stumbling block for that change by harboring a judgmental tone.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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