Injustice Is a Great Sin According To St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain lived a life of great piety, humility, and wisdom throughout his days. He was a stern ascetic who put himself through much hardship and privation in his efforts to gain a greater understanding of life’s mysteries. The fruits of his introspection were many sublime teachings on various topics that affect the lives of Christians and the world at large. His words touched on prayer, spiritual life, stillness, humility, freedom, and so on.

One of his most poignant teachings was on the subject of Divine justice, Human justice, and Injustice. In this piece, we’ll delve into his thoughts regarding injustice, which he illustrated brilliantly by telling a story.

Elder Paisios Regarding Injustice

A man seeking to understand the nature of divine justice was sent by his elder to a hidden spot and told to watch the road from there. The man did as he was told and soon enough saw a rich man come along, sit at a bench and count out 100 gold coins. He then gets up to go but forgets his money-pouch behind.

A few minutes later, another man comes along, spots the pouch, and takes off with it. A poor man then comes along and sits on the bench to eat a meager piece of bread. At this point, the rich man comes back looking for his pouch and finds the poor man there. Although the poor man knows nothing of the money, the rich man doesn’t believe him and beats him savagely, killing him eventually. Even so, he doesn’t find his money on the dead man’s body.

The Nature of Divine Justice

The man watching these happenings was deeply troubled by what he had seen and asked his elder what it all meant. Why would the Lord permit such horrible injustice in the world? In answer, the elder told him that all he had witnessed had a purpose. The man who picked up the coin pouch was the rich man’s neighbor. The rich man had defrauded him of his land, and so that was God’s way of providentially righting that wrong.

The poor man who had been unjustly murdered had once committed a murder himself. In contrition, he had changed his ways and lived a righteous life. He had prayed to atone for his sin by dying a violent death. The seeming injustice that had befallen him was God’s answer to his prayers.

The rich man would live the rest of his life being tortured by the guilt of his injustice. His love of money led him to disaster, and his tortured conscience eventually led him to renounce worldly pursuits and become a monk. He had been set on the path of righteousness by the injustice he had committed.

The Nature of Injustice

Now, the point of his story was that the concept of justice and injustice varies when viewed through human eyes and those of the Lord. Divine justice might seem cruel when viewed from our point of view, but a deeper understanding of the will of God makes things abundantly clear.

According to Elder Paisios, injustice is a great sin depending on our intentions as human beings. Because we are limited in our knowledge, we should not be overly concerned with what we see happening to others or even what happens to us, as there is always meaning behind all suffering. When injustice befalls you, the suffering you will be forced to endure should be considered a gift, as it allows you to understand yourself and grow in spiritual strength.

Final Thoughts

Elder Paisios was a man of great wisdom, and his life served as a shining example for many. His teachings regarding divine justice and injustice were timely ones, coming at a time when the world experienced widespread suffering. Injustice is a great sin when visited by human beings upon one another as it corrupts the doer. We should not be overly concerned with God’s judgment, however, as we are not capable of understanding his methods. Keep your faith strong and trust that there is a purpose for everything.

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