Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

A certain elder, who was asked by the brothers what condemnation is and what it means to speak ill of another, gave the following explanation:

“In the case of speaking ill of someone, one reveals the hidden faults of his brother. In the case of condemnation, one censures something obvious. On the one hand, if someone were to say, for example, that such-and-such a brother is well-intentioned and kind, but lacks discretion, this would be to speak ill of him. If, however one were to say that so-and-so is greedy and miserly, this is condemnation, for in this way he censures his neighbor’s deeds. Condemnation is worse than speaking ill of another.”

 

While I agree with the abba, I would go in a different direction. To speak ill of someone is to speak ill of their behavior. To condemn a person is to make a negative comment about their identity.
 
It is one thing to say that a child acts like a naughty child. That describes the child’s behavior. It is something very different to say “You are a naughty child” because that places a negative identity upon someone.
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