Four Hundred Texts on Love (Third Century) 25

55.  He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins, which are truly heavier than a great lump of lead; nor does he know why a man becomes heavy-hearted when he loves vanity and chases after falsehood (cf. Ps. 4:1). That is why, like a fool who walks in darkness, he no longer attends to his own sins but lets his imagination dwell on the sins of others, whether these sins are real or merely the products of his own suspicious mind.

Note that the damage we do to ourselves when we dwell on the sins of others remains the same whether we accurately perceive those sins or merely imagine them. The problem then lies in the act of focusing our attention and our mind on the sins of the other. It doesn’t even matter if we’re right. We’re still wrong.

In a strange way, as I considered the above, I was reminded of the Beatles song, “Fixing a Hole“. Perhaps because although the publican was wrong, he was right where he belonged. And he went home that day justified.

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