Let us therefore, be attentive ourselves, brothers. Are we as attentive when we work hard and lose ourselves in our labor by our negligence, unaware that our enemy is in us, flattering and gnawing away at us every day, not allowing our eyes to contemplate anything of light and divinity?
Examine yourself,wretched one, who has been baptized into Christ and His death. What sort of death is it that He died? If you follow His footsteps, show me your way of life. His sinless and presents Himself to you in everything. He has walked in poverty. He did not make a place to rest His head. You, however, do not joyfully endure being a stranger. He endured insults but you cannot bear any injury. He has not returned evil for evil, you cannot resist returning evil. He was not angry when He suffered. You, on the other hand, are irritated when you do suffer. He was not distressed when someone insulted Him, but you become agitated, even when someone is not insulting you. He humbled Himself, comforting those who sinned against Him. You injure with words even those who love you. He joyfully tolerated afflictions but you are disturbed by the least new unpleasantness. He, He was with those who had fallen but you, you are arrogant to those who expiate you. He was handed over for those who had sinned against Him, in order to ransom them. You are incapable of giving anything, even for those who love you.
See what He has given you. What do you give Him in return? Know Him through His works and you through yours. If you have died with Him, who commits these sins?
Abba Isaiah of Scetis, Ascetical Discourses
“Enter into the Church to wash away your sins. From here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed again to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent.”
St. John Chrysostom
Sometimes we do not see any outlet, any escape from our sins, and they torment us: on account of them, the heart is oppressed with sorrow and weary. But Jesus looks upon us, and streams of tears flow from our eyes, and with the tears all the tissue of evil in our soul vanishes. We weep with joy that such mercy has suddenly and unexpectedly been sent to us.
St. John of Kronstadt
God turns away from him who remembers wrongs. With the one who prays while nurturing hurt against his neighbor, the demons instead of angels are present and his prayer is sinful.
Elder Parfeny, Spiritual Counsels
There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (1Jn 5:16): the sin for which we do not,
repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.
St. Mark the Ascetic; On Those Who Believe They are Made Righteous by Works, v 44, The Philokalia
God has done all things for our benefit. We are guarded and taught by the angels; we are tempted by the demons so that we may be humbled and have recourse to God, thus being saved from self-elation and delivered from negligence.
-St. Peter of Damascus
“In the spiritual life we can do nothing worthy without repentance, but the Lord has much mercy on us because of our intentions. He who compels himself and holds on to repentance until the end, even if he sins is saved because he compelled himself, for the Lord promised this in the Gospel.” St. Mark the Ascetic
“Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue.” St. Nektarios of Aegina
“…but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Mt. 10:22
My friends, God knows our hearts. He knows when we truly, deep down mean to do well but cannot. I tell people all the time: ” If you can, then you are commanded to do so. If you cannot then God -who is no ‘black and white’ genie- knows your heart, your intent, and is merciful. But if you certainly can, but will not, then the judgement is on you.
Addicts struggle with addiction their whole lives, and most of us who are addicted to sin struggle with the same sins forever. We cannot let the tenacity of the sin get us down. The fact that we are struglling is a good thing. We learn greatly by failure, the ups and downs, and it makes us stronger if we let it. God is there in those times, giving us the grace to become stronger through our weaknesses. And so we should never look at our failures as the end, as though we were completely doomed because of them. They are our cross, and they are what make us Christians.