Monday, March 2, 2020

When Attacked, Respond with Love and Humility

Psalm 37 (38) verses 14 & 15 say in response to slander and personal attacks described in previous verses:
But I like a deaf man do not hear, And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth. I am like a man who does not hear, And who has no reproofs in his mouth
David demonstrates this in the story of Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5-13). It is about an man who cursed and threw stones at David, but David did not respond or retaliate. Instead he accused himself of being worthy of such reproof. He responded in this way even though he had soldiers with him who could have killed Shimei who was from an enemy camp. 
Reflecting on this story we are reminded how we too are called to act in this way. But we realize how difficult it is to act similarly when we are attacked in anyway. 
The commentary of St. Ambrose on this Psalm reminds us of how Christ similarly responded as He was being falsely accused by Pilot.  As Elder Aimilianos says, “To be sure, it is no small thing to be patient, to act as if nothing were happening, when others are slandering you”
David shows how when we trust in God, we can recognize our own sinfulness when attacked by others and respond only with love. With love we will be like one who does not hear and is like a mute with no reproofs in his mouth.

From Saint Porphyrios says:
When someone injures us in whatever way, whether with slanders or with insults, we should think of him as our brother who has been taken hold of by the enemy. He has fallen victim to the enemy. Accordingly we need to have compassion for him and entreat God to have mercy both on us and on him, and God will help both. If, however, we are filled with anger against him, then the enemy will jump from him to us and make a mockery of us both. A person who condemns others does not love Christ. Our egotism is at fault. This is where condemnation of others stems from. (Wounded by Love, p 18)

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