Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Poemen 3

“For someone to teach another, he must be healthy in his soul and free of passions,” says Abba Poemen. “There is no use in building the house of another, your own being destroyed.”

“He who teaches others, without putting to practice any of that which he teaches,” the same Father further says, “is like a spring which irrigates and flows over all that is around it, while it is filled with every sort of dirt.”

If we are going to be spiritual mentors, we must not be hypocrites. We must practice the very things we would advise others to do. One would think that would be self-evident, but I think it very likely we have all met at least one hypocrite and seen the damage that results from hypocrisy.


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