Love Could Not Bear That
Over the last week the many statements, opinions, and responses to the Miami apartment block disaster, the problems caused due to climate changes in Canada have been broad, varied, and filled with emotion. They expressed, appropriately so, shared pain, sorrow, grief, and anger. They offered gratitude, pride, and support for the courage, compassion, and love shown by the many heroes who responded and cared for the dead, the injured, and those still in danger. Others, not surprisingly, focused not so much on the incident but specifically on the causes for the incident.
These last reactions reminded me of the hermit in a story from the life of St. Silouan (1866-1938), a monk of Mount Athos. The story is told by Archimandrite Sophrony on page 48 of his book, St. Silouan the Athonite.
I remember a conversation between [Silouan] and a certain hermit who declared with evident satisfaction, ‘God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.’ Obviously upset, [Silouan] said, ‘Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there you looked down and saw someone burning in hell-fire – would you feel happy?’ ‘It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,’ said the hermit. [Silouan] answered him in a sorrowful countenance: ‘Love could not bear that,’ he said. ‘We must pray for all.’
I am not condoning or excusing any of the above incidents or any other act of violence. I recognise, however, how easily “all atheists” can be replaced with the name of our favourite person or people to blame. This is true not only for these incidents but for all the times we or those we care about have been hurt by another. Sometimes they are guilty. Other times they are not. Regardless, “Love could not bear that.”
Repentance – J. C. Ryle
Michael Marsh Blog
Through Repentance to Faith – Derek Prince
Forgiving What You Can't Forget – Lysa TerKeurst
Life Interrupted - Priscilla Shirer