“Why should I look at another person when I myself am a sinner? And how can I judge another when I will be judged? He’s guilty of one thing, and I’m guilty of another—just as bad or even worse. Perhaps he is sinning out of ignorance, but I sin not out of ignorance.” This is how we must humble ourselves constantly. This is spoken about in the fiftieth psalm: For I know mine iniquity and my sin is ever before me (Ps. 50:5). That means, you must ever keep your sinfulness before you: “I am a sinner—how can I judge another?”
Whatever happens to someone concerns his individual personality. For some reason, different kinds of suffering are sent to those who suffer—some suffer in one way, others in another way. All of this is for a reason.
The history of mankind has a spiritual meaning and is formed from inside, and this hidden process (where people’s hearts incline) is known to God alone. Outward events just reflect the innermost contents of life and the choices of people.
What was happening in Russia 100 years ago is often called “the little apocalypse”. Yet it was then that the models of confession of the faith—the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church—were given to us. But how can modern people, who are weak and spoiled, take part in their experience of standing firm in the faith?
A few days before the great feast of the Nativity of Christ we talked with Archpriest Valerian Krechetov, a famous confessor and preacher, and rector of the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in the Akulovo village near Moscow. The subject of our talk was: How can we prepare ourselves to experience the great Christian feasts more attentively?
They asked her, “What did you see? What was revealed to you?” She only answered, “Don’t judge anyone. We are going to be judged very severely. Don’t judge anyone.” Judge not that ye be not judged (Mt. 7:1)—this was written in the Gospels. We should try to fulfill this commandment.
“How should I tell the priest about my sins? Is a feeling of repentance indispensable during confession? After confession, should one expect a feeling of spiritual relief, or lightness of soul? These beginners’ questions often remain troublesome even for very experienced parishioners.