Monday, August 9, 2010

To Love Christ is to Be a Zealot but Not Fanatical

Elder Porpyrios asks us all to become zealots. He says, 
A zealot is a person who loves Christ with all his soul and who serves his fellow men in Christ’s name. Love for God and for our neighbor; they go together and cannot be divorced. Passion, yearning and tears along with contrition, not for a purpose, but all as an overflowing of the heart! 
This idea of being a zealot has nothing to do with being fanatical. It’s about being a true Christian who withholds quick judgments about others and initially responds always with love. This applies to those of other religions. It seems in todays internet environment it is common to condemn almost anyone. Orthodox attack Muslims and even Catholics. And the political dialogue is outrageous and filled with hatred often spewed by clergy. The Elder teaches to always be respectful of others and react with love. This often involves our silence.

He says, 

Even to a person of another religion you will always act as a Christian. that is to say, you will show respect for him in a gracious manner irrespective of his religion. You will care for a Muslim when he is in need, speak to him and keep company with him. There must be respect for the freedom of the other person. Just as Christ ‘stands at the door and knocks’ ( Rev 3:20) and does not force an entry, but waits for the soul to accept Him freely on its own, so we should stand in the the same way in relation to every soul. 

Reference: Wounded By Love, pp 186-187

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