Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite of Milesi , Oropos
Let’s suppose someone is all alone in the desert.Suddenly he hears a voice crying out in distress in the distance.He follows the sound and is confronted by a horrendous sight:a tiger has grabbed hold of a man and is savaging him with its claws.The man is desperately shouting for help.In a few minutes he will be torn to pieces.What can the person do to help?Can he run to his side?How?It’s impossible.Can he shout for help?Who will hear him?There is no one within earshot.Should he perhaps pick up a stone and throw it at the man to finish him off?‘Certainly not,’ we would say.But that’s exactly what can happen if we don’t realize that the other person who is acting badly towards us has been taken hold of by a tiger, the devil.We fail to realize that when we react to such a person without love, it is as if we are throwing stones at his wounds and accordingly we are doing him great harm and the ‘tiger’ leaps onto us and we do the same as him and worse.What kind of love do we have then for our neighbor and, even more importantly, for God?
When someone injures us in whatever way, whether with slanders or with insults, we should think of him as our brother who has been taken hold of by the enemy. He has fallen victim to the enemy. Accordingly we need to have compassion for him and entreat God to have mercy both on us and on him, and God will help both. If, however, we are filled with anger against him, then the enemy will jump from him to us and make a mockery of us both. A person who condemns others does not love Christ. Our egotism is at fault. This is where condemnation of others stems from.
We should feel the malice of the other person as an illness which is tormenting him and which he is unable to shake off.And so we should regard our brethren with sympathy and behave with courtesy towards them, repeating in our hearts with simplicity the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ so that the grace of God may strengthen our soul and so that we don’t pass judgment on anyone.
In that way, we help our brother when he is possessed by evil.