Spiritual Health: God’s Justice

Someone who is spiritually healthy overlooks his own rights in order to uphold God’s justice in his life, because divine justice is worth more than human justice. Only the person in good spiritual health can discern God’s justice within what appears to be human injustice. St Dorotheos teaches about the damage self-justification does to a person. When someone insists on his rights and that human justice should prevail, he creates the conditions for destruction, particularly destruction of his soul. Someone may suffer injustice from others, but because he confronts it according to God’s will, and tries not to forfeit God’s justice, he experiences another reality beyond the comprehension of those with a worldly mentality.

Anyone who is spiritually healthy does not suffer from human injustice. He may be wronged, but he looks at the spiritual laws at work beneath this apparent injustice. St Mark the Ascetic says that anyone who is treated with contempt by someone else and does not argue with him in either word or thought, “shows that he has acquired true knowledge and firm faith in the Lord.” Anyone who is unjustly treated and does not retaliate receives a great reward from God.

The spiritually healthy person refers everything to God. He waits for recompense in the Kingdom of Heaven. He does not seek justice here on earth from anyone. He does not get involved in the futile round of justifications, because he waits for compensation from God. He rejoices and is delighted when treated unjustly, because the more injustice someone experiences here on earth, the more he will be justified by God. Through his patience and joy at being wronged here on earth, he is making payments into the bank of the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why St Mark the Ascetic advises, “When you are harmed, insulted or persecuted by someone, do not consider the present but wait for the future,” and then you will find that this has brought you many blessings, not only in the present but in the future too. St Isaac the Syrian teaches that the person who could refute injustice yet bears it with joy, “has received comfort from God.” Inwardly, he receives God’s consolation and comfort. And when God comforts, He does so lavishly. Indeed, the same Saint says that the person who bears accusation with humility, “has attained to perfection and is admired by the angels. No other virtue is as great and as difficult to achieve.”

The Gerontikon mentions the case of a brother who was wronged and turned to Abba Sisoes, saying that he wanted to avenge the injustice done to him. The Abba pleaded with him: “No, my child, leave vengeance to God.” The brother did not want to hear the holy Elder’s appeal. So, the Elder suggested that they pray to God together. He said the following prayer: “God, we no longer need You to care for us, for we can take revenge by ourselves.” When the brother heard these words he was filled with remorse and sought forgiveness from the Abba. Many of us are spiritually sick. We ignore the spiritual laws and want to be justified in this life. We seek revenge against our brothers and do not commit ourselves into God’s hands. It can be stated with certainty that spiritually healthy people not only do not retaliate when others wrong them, but are exceedingly glad about it, because in this way they leave room for God to act. Moreover, God, Who is just, has greater love for those children who have suffered injustice.

Source: Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos. “The Science of Spiritual Medicine” Orthodox Psychotherapy in Action: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 2010.

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