Discipline And Mercy

I came across this quote and I thought it something of contrast given the enthusiasm for church discipline:

“Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.

Be crucified, but do not crucify others.

Be slandered, but do not slander others.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.

Suffer with the sick.

Be afflicted with sinners.

Exult with those who repent.

Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone.

Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all.

Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly.

Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them.”

The quote is posted with a proviso that St. Isaac the Syrian does go “beyond the bounds of canonical understanding” – probably an understatement if anything. It is easy to tear apart St. Isaac’s words on that account, but before you give in to that, I should add that we seem to be quick to forgive or even excuse or overlook (not the same thing as forgiving) fits of unmerciful behaviour as well as all other sorts of transgressions in church leadership that tend in the opposite direction of St. Isaac. I should also like to add that I’m posting this not as a sort of thing that I can say live my life by or that I even try to live my life by or that I think you should live your life by, but maybe more as a meditation.