This hurts me more than it hurts you; Church Fathers: Day 336

This hurts me more than it hurts you; Church Fathers: Day 336 July 5, 2018

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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  • RoverSerton

    Really! I mean REALLY? Those Jews killed by Hitler… Hitler was the victim. Waterboarding of people not guilty of a crime? Really? Children raped… the rapist was the real victim. I don’t know what God you claim to follow but I strongly suggest you work on your explanation why these crimes only have the guilty as a victim. May God forgive you. I’m done reading your thoughtless posts.

    • James

      This is not what the poster is saying. Nor is it what John Chrysostom is saying. People have always known that playing victim is what continues to plague the living. That’s one of the reasons why Jesus expressly stated forgiveness is the way forward–so that we don’t play the victim. In Psychology, it’s called the Drama Triangle–there are three main roles–Rescuer, Victim and Persecutor. We all do this from time to time. For example, we might try to help someone–it gets rejected and so we play victim, which then allows us to play persecutor without seeming to be the bad guy. This is largely what comes across in your post. Remember, the person who has committed the crime is the one at fault. In order not to participate in his/her wrongdoing, follow Chysostom’s advice. This is hard to do because we all want to feel vindicated and/or get revenge for the things done wrong to us by others. The truth is that most of us have also done wrong to others as well. We might try and explain it away or justify our motives–but we are also the bad guys–perhaps not to the extreme extents you mention–Hitler, waterboarding and rape. But I think it’s safe to say that you have done wrong to others. If not, then I apologise for my assumption. Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant hits a lot of it on the head.

      • RoverSerton

        The opening line “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.” You agree with this statement? Torture does no real harm? Even death?

        I have never done harm intentionally to another that an apology didn’t correct for. But, if I did, I was the one that suffered by this twisted logic. This is Mother Teresa sized logic where the suffering brings the poor soul closer to God so she give no relief of the pain.

        “Playing victim”? The waterboarded is playing victim? The raped? Incredible.