Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sayings of the Desert Christians: Abba John the Dwarf 3


One day when he was sitting in front of the church, the brethren were consulting him about their thoughts. One of the old men who saw it became a prey to jealousy and said to him, 'John, your vessel is full of poison.' Abba John said to him, 'That is very true, Abba; and you have said that when you only see the outside, but if you were able to see the inside, too, what would you say then?'

Some thoughts:

This is a curious little saying. The jealous monk says a really horrible thing to Abba John who doesn't do a thing to defend himself but instead agrees with him, implying that what is on the surface is only the beginning.

I don't know about you, but if someone said that to me, my 1st instinct would not be to agree. My 1st instinct would be to get angry and want to defend myself against such abuse. There is a great to be said, though, for just agreeing, letting go, not getting into the argument and not getting all invested in someone else's opinion of me. I think it is a healthier response for all concerned.


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