Insults, thefts, even torture—none of these things do any real harm to the person who suffers them, says St. John Chrysostom. But they do lasting harm to the person who does them.
So if neither loss of money, nor slander, nor insult, nor banishment, nor diseases, nor tortures, nor what seems more formidable than all those, namely death, harms those who suffer them, but rather adds to their profit, how will you prove to me that anyone is injured, when none of these things can injure him?
But I will try to prove the reverse, showing you that the ones who are most injured and insulted, and suffer the most incurable evils, are the people who do these things.
What could be more miserable than the state of Cain, who did these things to his brother? What could be more pitiable than the state of Philip’s wife, who beheaded John? Or the brothers of Joseph, who sold him away into exile? Or the devil who tortured Job with such great disasters? For not only because of his other sins, but at the same time because of this assault, he will pay a considerable penalty.
So, you see, our argument has proved even more than we set out to prove. We have showed not only that those who are insulted are not harmed by these attacks, but that all the evil bounces back on the heads of those who do the attacking.
–St. John Chrysostom, No One Can Harm the Man Who Does Not Injure Himself, 5
When I look back at what I’ve done in my dealings with people today, have I done anything that will bring me lasting harm?
What can I do to put it right?
Lord, cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
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