On Diverse Weights and Measures

St. Gregory the Dialogist ca. 540-604

For many are the sins which we commit; but they do not, therefore, seem grave to us because, loving ourselves with privy love, with our eyes closed, we delude ourselves in our deception. Hence, it very often happens that we adjudge our own grave sins minor and the petty transgressions of others as major. Indeed, it written: “Men shall be lovers of themselves” (2 Tim. 3:2). And we know that self-love firmly closes the eye of the heart. So it happens that what we do and ajudge trivial is very often done by a neighbor and seems to us only too abominable. But why does this which seemed to us trifling, yet appear grave to us in our neighbor, unless because we do not scrutinize ourselves as we do our neighbor, nor our neighbor as ourselves? For, if we were to look upon ourselves as on a neighbor, we should see our transgressions strictly. And, again, if we were to look on our neighbor as ourselves, his deed would never appear intolerable to us, who perhaps did such things and did not imagine that he had committed an offense intolerable to our neighbor. Moses sought to correct our inconsistent mental judgment by the provisions of the Law, when he said that a bushel must be just and the sextary equal. Solomon says: “Diverse weights and diverse measures, both are abominable before God” (Prov. 20:10). For we know that one thing may be heavier, another lighter, in the false weight of tradesmen. For they have one weight for what they weigh for themselves, and another for what they weigh for their neighbor. For they prepare lighter weights for giving, but heavier weights for receiving. Therefore, every man who weighs with one measure for the things of his neighbor, yet another for his own, has diverse weights. Therefore, both are abominable before God, because if a man were to love his neighbor as himself, he would love him in his good deeds as himself. And if he were to scrutinize himself as his neighbor, he would judge himself in his sins as if he were his neighbor. (Homilies on the Book of Ezekiel, Homily 4.9)