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August 2, 2010

The Leniency of God's Mercy

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

We must be patient and merciful toward the sinner if we wish that a long-suffering [patient] God be merciful to us.

The great compassion of Blessed Alexander, the Patriarch of Antioch, had become proverbial. One of his scribes stole several gold pieces and fled to Thebaid. However, some robbers captured him in the wilderness and they took him with them. Learning of this, Alexander sent the robbers eighty-five gold pieces as a ransom. That is why it was said: "The mercy of Alexander cannot be overcome by any sin."

St. John the Merciful writes: "The long-suffering [patience] of God is unchangeable and His mercy is kind…How many criminals are there who go out to kill and rob that He conceals in order that they may not be captured and placed under tortures? Pirates sail the sea and God does not order the sea to drown them. How many falsely swear by Holy Communion and He tolerates not repaying them for that with evil? Robbers steal on the road and He does not give them over to the beasts to tear them to pieces…Libertines go off with prostitutes and He tolerates them. Why all of this? Because He waits for repentance and conversion. Truly, God does not want the destruction of a sinner…That is why, brethren, let us be ashamed before the most lenient Lord God."