The video below was created by Gregory Decapolite
A certain brother had succumbed to the sin of lust, repeating this sin every day, but every day he would also beseech the Lords mercy, with tears and prayers. By acting this way, his bad habit always fooled him and he would repeat the sin again; but again, after sinning, he would go to the Church and, upon seeing the holy and venerable icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, would fall to his knees and with bitter tears would say: Spare me, Lord, and rid of me this tortuous temptation, because it plagues me terribly and harms me with its bitter pleasures. My face is not worthy to look upon Your holy icon, so that my heart might be consoled.
That was the sort of thing he would say, but whenever he left the Church, he would again fall in the mire. Yet he never lost his hopes for salvation, and immediately after sinning, he would again return to the Church and say the same things, praying to the benevolent Lord God: Lord, be my warrantor that from now on I wont sin again; but please, Lord, forgive all of my sins, from the beginning, up to now. And after making these grandiose promises, he would again return to the same, terrible sin. And one could discern the sweet benevolence and infinite goodness of the Lord, in tolerating and enduring this incorrigible and grave violation and the ingratitude of this man, and how, in His great compassion, the Lord desired the repentance of this man and his definitive return; because this sin was being repeated, not for one, two or three years, but for ten and more.
Brothers, can you see the immeasurable tolerance and infinite benevolence of the Lord? How He shows forbearance and kindness every time, by enduring our gross iniquities and sins? What is more staggering and provokes our wonder with regard to Gods wealth of compassion, is that although our brother kept promising and would agree to desist from that sin, he proved himself a liar.
One day, after our brother had fallen into that sin again, he went running to the Church, mourning and moaning and in tears, beseeching the compassion of the merciful God to spare him and save him from the mire of incontinence. While this brother was begging the benevolent God, the wicked devil, the destruction of our souls, realized that he had achieved nothing, because while he was sewing with sin, the man was fraying it with his repentance. So the devil impudently appeared before him visibly, and, turning his face towards the venerable icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, started to cry out, saying: What s it going to be with us two, Jesus Christ? Your infinite sympathy defeats me and degrades me, whenever you accept this lecher, this wanton, who lies to you every day and disregards your authority. Why then dont you burn him? Why are You so forbearing and tolerant towards him? You are supposed to be the one who will judge the adulterous and the licentious and will eliminate all sinners. In fact, You are not a fair judge, because, wherever Your authority considers it befitting, You judge unfairly and You overlook things. With me, because of the small infraction of pride, you cast me down from heaven, whereas with him, who is a liar, a lecher and a prodigal, because he merely knelt before You, You imperturbably grant him Your favor. So, why do they call You a fair judge? From what I can see, You simply give Yourself to people out of Your great goodness, and You overlook justice. As the devil was saying these, all choked up by his bitterness, flames and smoke came out of his nostrils.
After the devil had finished speaking, he became silent, and immediately, a voice was heard coming out of the altar saying: You wicked and pestilent dragon, your wickedness wasnt satiated by swallowing the whole world, and now you are trying to grab and swallow this man who found refuge in the infinite mercy of My compassion? Can you present any sins that are heavier than the precious blood which I shed for this man, on the Cross? Mark well, that My crucifixion and My death forgave his sins. Besides, you didnt send him away when he headed towards sin, but you accepted him with joy and you neither abhorred him nor hindered him, because you hoped to win him. Well then, I, Who am so merciful and benevolent, who had instructed my high Apostle Peter to forgive any man who sins daily up to seventy times seven, will I not forgive and spare this man? Yes, I say to you, and because he sought refuge in Me, I will not turn away from him, until I have made him mine. Because I was crucified for the sinners and it was for them that I extended my immaculate arms, so that everyone who wants to be saved, will seek refuge in me and be saved. I do not avoid anyone, nor do I send anyone away, not even if someone sins a thousand times in one day and then comes to Me a thousand times; he wont leave dismayed. Because I did not come to call the righteous to repent, but the sinners.
As soon as these words were heard, the devil stood fixed in place, trembling, unable to escape. And the voice spoke again: Listen, impostor, with regard to what you said about me being unfair : because I am fair to everyone, and in whichever condition I might find them, I will judge them accordingly. Look at this man, I found him in repentance and returning back, fallen on his knees in front of Me, and your conqueror. I will therefore accept him and save his soul, because he did not despair about his salvation. And you, when seeing the honor that I grant him, will impale yourself out of envy and be put to shame.
And just as the brother lay there, prone and weeping, he gave up his soul; instantly, a fury as great as a fire fell upon the devil, and it consumed him. Therefore my brothers let us learn from this incident of Gods immeasurable compassion and philanthropy, what a kind God we have, and that we must never despair or not tend to our salvation.
- Saint Amphilochios