April 22, 2019

The One Who Wrongs Us Is Our Benefactor (St. Paisios the Athonite)

- Elder, how should we consider someone who treats us in an unfair way?

- How should we consider him? We must treat him like a great benefactor who makes deposits on our behalf in God's Savings Bank. He is making us eternally wealthy. This is not a matter of minor importance. Are we not sup­posed to love our benefactors? Shouldn't we express our gratitude to them? In the same way, we must love and feel grateful to the person who has treated us unjustly, because he benefits us eternally. The unjust receive etern­al injury, whereas those who accept injustice with joy will be justified eternally.

A pious family man had suffered many injustices in his work. But he was full of kindness and endured it all without complaining. He came to the Hut once and told me all about it and then asked me, "What do you advise me to do?" "What you should do," I said, "is to expect the divine justice and the divine return and to be patient. Nothing is lost. In this way, you are putting 'money' in God's 'Savings Bank'. You will surely receive dividends in the next life, for all the trials you are going through now. You should know that the Good Lord rewards the unfairly treated person even in this life. And if He does not always reward him, He will surely do so with his children. God knows. He has providence for His creature. Where there is patience, things fall into place. God provides. We need patience, not logic. Since God is watching, He is observing us, we must surrender unconditionally to Him. You see, the Righteous Joseph did not say a thing when his brothers sold him into slavery. He could have said, 'I am their brother.' But he said nothing, until God spoke and made him king. But when one has no patience, he suffers. From that point on he wants things to come his way, as it suits him, and as is comfortable for him. But, of course, he does not find comfort that way, and things don't come out the way he wants them to come."

When someone is wronged in this life either by men or by demons, God does not worry, because the soul bene­fits as a result. Many times, however, we say that we are wronged, while in reality we are the ones causing the harm. We must be careful to distinguish the two.

From Elder Paisios of Mount Athos: Spiritual Counsels, With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, Part 1, Chapter 4.