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Metropolitan Naum: On self-justification


Self-justification is an illness that is more widespread, less noticeable, and more severe than the judgement and condemnation. Self-justification and condemnation are two sides of the same sinful condition – pride.

More widespread – because, most often, even those who are careful not to judge and not to condemn others, do not pay attention to self-justification.

Less noticeable – because, most often, the one who justifies himself does not realise the moment at which the sin of self-justification is committed.

And more severe – because, unlike the judgement or condemnation, the one who justifies himself, in addition to the sin of self-justification, commits many other sins, such as: disobedience, lying, condemnation, insolence, opposition to God’s providence, rejection of God’s grace etc. And all this shows a very bad spiritual state.

Let us explain some points in order.

When the spiritual father rebukes us and we do not accept it, we directly condemn the God-Man Christ that He is doing something wrong to us. At the same time, we do not receive God’s providence for us, we do not receive God’s word for us, and thus we reject God’s grace from us.

Do you remember how the Canaanite woman received the word of God for herself, when Christ likened her to a dog, and how she accepted and received both the grace of God and God’s providence for herself, and how her daughter was healed? Let me remind you …

There is no sin which is worse than self-justification before the spiritual father. This sin manifests itself as a great deal of vanity and pride together with a high opinion of ourselves.

Self-justification is an obstacle to any and all spiritual development and progress; it destroys the very essence of Christian identity – through which we share the guilt of sin of all world. Etc.

Everything that directly means self-justification before the spiritual father, indirectly means when we justify ourselves before our fellow men; both are one and the same …

For a monk to justify himself, however, I can only say that – he came to the monastery in vain and is free to leave immediately.

Self-justification can occur only if the spiritual father asks for an explanation, and in no other (irrelevant) case.

Self-justification can also take place without words – with the body language. Also, we should not ask for forgiveness too quickly – while someone is reprimanding us, that is a kind of self-justification. Sometimes you have to wait. Etc., etc.

We come to a monastery with the initial goal of putting our mind in the process of healing through obedience to the spiritual father, until the gift of the prayer of the mind in the heart is received and enlightenment of the mind; and not even after that. In this process we should not fall into logical or sentimental traps and justify ourselves.

It is a logical trap if, for example, the spiritual father rebukes us for something we have done according to the criteria of a certain knowledge or skill or craft and, accordingly, we think we are in the right. But we did not come to a monastery, for example, for agriculture or computer science or for icon painting, but to put the mind in the process of healing.

It is sentimental trap, for example, if the spiritual father addresses us nervously. Also, we have not come to a monastery for someone to pander to our vanity, but to put the mind in a process of healing, and as a result the wilful and wishful part of the soul are healed; as well as the feelings.

It is essentially the same purpose when we enter into the Church – anonymity until the gift of the prayer of the mind in the heart and enlightenment of the mind is received, and not shameless self-promotion, for example, on social networks or in general; which always brings with itself condemnation and self-justification. One who has modicum of intelligence will remember and understand what I am saying when I mention temporary anonymity; for the one who does not have a modicum of intelligence – there is nothing to explain.

Because, there cannot simultaneously be self-justification and repentance. Where there is self-justification, there is no repentance.

That is it …

Most-Holy Bogorodica (Birth-giver-of-God), save us!


Metropolitan of Strumica Naum


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