Sunday, January 29, 2012

Balance
 The Opposite of Anger is not Permissiveness

In my essay on Anger, I suggested the best way to respond to another persons anger was not to withdraw, but to move towards them with kindness. This is such an important issue, that I now want to expand on the topic.


There are times when distancing yourself from someone who is angry, is necessary. There is absolutely no good reason for you to move towards another, when they are being abusive. For the wife of an abuser to remain in danger, in an attempt to transfer love, while receiving abuse, could easily be a form a suicide. Too many women, either out of fear, or for economic reasons, or for the sake of the children, remain in abusive relationships. This is clearly a situation that does not require the abused, out of Christian charity, to remain living with the abuser, for to do so could prove dangerous.


Likewise, if you, out of a desire to help the abuser, simply offer love, but do not call them on their behavior, could be guilty of  lending support to his behavior. I once stopped my car at curbside, when I saw a man beating on a woman. It would have been unthinkable for me to continue driving, knowing this woman was in danger. After calling 911, I stepped between the man and woman, telling the man to back off (not something I'd recommend). Lucky for me I was able, probably because of my attire and size, to intimidate him to step back, until the police arrived. My point in telling this story is that there are times when justice must reign, and we must offer assistance to someone who is being abused. 


Remaining in an abusive relationship can be destructive to our spiritual lives, as well as being potentially dangerous. We must be wise as serpents, but meek as lambs, tempering our response to the anger of another. Balance is the key word.


Taking vengeance, and striking back, must not be our response, for this avoids the fact that the abuser is in danger, as well, for he must be called to repentance. In our attempt to offer love and goodness to the person who is heaping anger upon us, we could inadvertently be prolonging the day of their repentance. The person struggling with anger does not need you to be his enabler, and relationships of co dependence have the potential of being spiritually destructive for both parties. As long as our response to someones anger is itself devoid of anger, we are safe.


Permissiveness is not required when dealing with the abuser. The opposite of anger is not the permitting of evil to continue, and allowing the offender to remain in a perpetual state of sin. We must respond without anger. Permissiveness is not required when dealing with abuse. The opposite of anger is not the permitting of evil to continue. We must cultivate a strong sense of right and wrong, and the desire to oppose evil, not out of passion, but out of righteousness.


It is also important for me to clearly state that if the anger is accompanied by a history of violence, the gravity of the offense most certainly does not require the abused to continue to live in the grip of the abuser. This can clearly be a situation that requires the abused to remove themselves, and their children, from the dangers of living with such a person.

Our Lord drove out the money changers from the Temple, in righteous anger. Likewise, you have the right to defend yourself, your children, and your home, from those who would steal from you, abuse you with insults, or betray your friendship. Such people need not be allowed to remain in your life if their abuse threatens your peace of mind, and the safety of those who are in your charge.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon






Sunday January 29, 2012 / January 16, 2012

33rd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone eight.

Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy and All-glorious Apostle Peter.
Blessed Maximus of Totma (Vologda), fool-for-Christ (1650).
New HieromartyrJohn priest (1919).
Martyrs the brothers Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus, their grandmother Leonilla, and with them Neon, Turbo, and the woman Jonilla (Jovilla), in Cappadocia (ca. 161-180).
Martyr Danax the Reader in Macedonia (2nd c.).
Venerable Romilos, monk of Mt. Athos and Ravanica (Serbia) (1375), disciple of St. Gregory of Sinai, and with him Sts. Nestor, Martinius, Daniel, Sisoes, Zosimas, and Gregory (Greek).
New Hieromartyr Damascene of Hilandar on Mt. Athos and Gabrovo (Bulgaria) (1771) (Greek).
St. Honoratus, archbishop of Aries and founder of Lerins Monastery (429).
St. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, martyr (635) (Celtic & British).
St. Fursey of Burgh Castle, enlightener of East Anglia and Langy (650) (Celtic & British).
St. James of Tarentaise (429).
New Martyr Nicholas of Mitylene (1777).



I wish to thank those of you who have been contributing towards the principle of our mortgage ($250,000.00). For those of you who can't donate due to the depressed economy, please remember to pray for the monastery. It would be such a great blessing if we were able to retire the mortgage debt altogether.

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:


All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
 

1 Timothy 4:9-15

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.

Take Heed to Your Ministry

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House


19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I am intrigued especially by your final paragraph. As someone whose peace and sanity is continually violated by emotional and verbal abuse (by my spouse who also happens to be an Orthodox clergyman), I am generally in despair, thinking, that the only Christian thing to do is to endure it. Can I correspond with you concerning this? Or perhaps even make a visit to you, as I live only a few hours away. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete