On Guilelessness and Wisdom


To be truly human in this world is really the same as being a sheep among wolves, for the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 Jn. 5:19). I again say to you, remember: A sheep among wolves is subject to danger from two sides. Firstly, the wolves can tear him apart. But this is in the hands of God. And secondly, a sheep can decide that when you’re surrounded by wolves there is no other way to survive than to become like a wolf, sharpen your teeth, learn how to howl, exchange your hooves for claws, and so from a sheep turn into a wolf. Christ did not send us for this, but so that by our faith and life in the faith we might attract wolves into becoming Christ’s sheep, if they want to.

Christ tells us how to be saved from both of these dangers: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Wisdom will save you from being torn apart, and simplicity and guilelessness will prevent you from becoming a wolf. On the other hand, this means that we can develop our mental capabilities more and more, to infinity—but under the condition that along with this we would also develop in ourselves kindness, which will give us balance. A man in this world looks at all the same things as do thousands of eyes, and the flies, and the bees… But with our mind we can see what they do not see—the inner spiritual world and eternity.

But the mind is cold. It sometimes cuts through the living, across the heart. Goodness, to the contrary, is warm but not blind. True is the folk saying, “The kind man and the fool are natural brothers.” That is, if someone is kind but not wise, people not only take advantage of him but also laugh at him and trip him up. Well, in order that reason would not turn into guile, and goodness into stupidity, we need to unite reason with goodness. This will be a truly evangelical person, an Orthodox personality. Both reason and goodness.

It is dangerous to develop the mind while forgetting about kindness, disdaining it or considering it to be humiliating; and of course such a person can wreck his own life as well as the lives of those close to him. All great criminals and imposters have well-developed minds, and to a greater or lesser extent, outstanding abilities and even education.

And s I already said, kindness by itself is insufficient and deleterious. Here is the solution for the Christian. To develop the mind given him by God, which among other things makes us different from other living beings, which have only instincts. We too have instincts, but we also have reason, given to us by the Lord, and by which He has raised us above the other creatures. We also have a heart, and will, and freedom.

May the Lord teach us and help us to always have and develop both reason and kindness unto His glory, and to the benefit of our families, our motherland, and all mankind—unto the salvation of ourselves and them.

From a collection of sermons and interviews by His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia: Patriarch Pavle: Walking to eternity.

Patriarch Pavle (Stojčević)
Translation by Nun Cornelia (Rees)


ACatharina5/17/2020 6:25 pm
The latest global trend emphasizes kindness and tolerance without reason...the age before, it was reason above all. Both leading to nothing, but madness.
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