On Peace

Archbishop Averky (Taushev) 1906- 1976

[B]y no means is all peace pleasing to God, nor is it necessary to cherish all peace. The Holy Fathers, instructors in the spiritual life, say that there can be “glorious discord” as well as most disastrous unanimity”. We should love only good peace, one that has a good purpose that unites with God. The Teacher of Love Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, says that not all peace is pleasing to God and that it is not necessary to value all peace: Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace but a sword. (Matt. 10:34) At the same time, the Lord constantly taught His disciples peace, meekness and humility, and in parting at the Last Supper bestowed upon them His peace saying, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you (Jn. 14:27). This “peace of Christ” which surpasses all understanding, according to the expression of the apostle, is a particular peace that does not have anything in common with any other human peace. This is precisely that “good peace” which, according to the expression of the fathers, “has a good purpose and connects us with God.” Every other type of peace, however attractive it may seem, should be rejected as satanic delusion. Thus, according to the Holy Fathers, where explicit impiety is concerned, we should resort to fire and the sword, and not “partake of bad leaven and be added to the number of the infected.” Therefore, a Christian cannot be at peace with Satan, with patent atheists, with apostates, with theomachists, nor with malicious heretics. There can be no peace with persecutors of the faith and the Church, with defamers and defilers of holy things, nor with sowers of atheism and impiety.

A Christian cannot be at peace and have friendship with thieves, murderers, rapists, nor perverts. In principle, a Christian cannot live in peace and friendship with all the people who clearly and boldly break the Law of God, harm the peace and welfare of human society, who prevent people from drawing close to God, and introduce discord and disorder into the soul. It is necessary to steadfastly remember that when the Gospel speaks of forgiveness of sins and offenses, it has in mind personal sins and personal offenses.  However, we usually understand and do everything the other way around. Self-assertive human pride forgives everything except personal offenses. You can be both an atheist and a blasphemer and that is fine, only don’t touch me. You can be a thief and a murderer, just leave me alone. You can be any type of scoundrel, but if you don’t do anything bad to me personally, especially if you do something pleasing to me, then you are already a good person. The opposite is also true: if the best possible person in some way, even unintentionally, wounds our pride, then there’s trouble: enmity between us is unavoidable, and he immediately becomes our mortal enemy. This is how everything is distorted. Our law is such: the one who indulges our self-assertive human pride, the one who pleases our passions is good and our best friend, but the one who speaks to us even one word of reproach, even if it contains salvific truth, immediately becomes our enemy.

Therefore,  all the liberals of our time, beginning with Lev Tolstoy, themselves being quite evil and prideful by nature and completely unable to forgive personal offenses, nevertheless love to speak eloquently about Christian “forgiveness of all”, altogether incorrectly understanding such forgiveness. Furthermore, they attack all civil and governmental conventions and regulations that are intended to suppress evil in society and render harmless those who bring evil to their neighbors. Such people completely ignore the whole series of places in Holy Scripture where it clearly speaks of the necessity to take decisive measures for the suppression of evil that has impudently raised its head in human society. Christ Himself, the Humble Teacher of Love, took up a whip and drove those selling n the Templeand turned over the moneychangers’ tables and scattered their money. (On Resisting Evil, Orthodox Life Vol. 63, No. 1)