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Desert Christians

February 11, 2011

Michael Hyatt found an excellent illustration on how leaders must learn to handle criticism and overlook offenses in the book Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism.  The illustration is:

A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian and said to him, “Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.’ So the old man said, ‘Go to the cemetery and insult the dead.’ The brother went there, hurled insults and stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, ‘Didn’t they say anything to you?’ He replied, ‘No.’

“The old man said, ‘Go back tomorrow and praise them.’ So the brother went away and praised them, calling them Apostles, saints and blessed people. He returned to the old man and said to him, ‘I have complimented them.’ And the old man said to him, ‘Did they not answer you?’ the brother said, ‘No.’

“The old man said to him, ‘You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you, too, if you wish to be saved must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of others or their praises, and you can be saved.’”

Hyatt points out, too, that “be saved” should be understood as “be sanctified” as the early fathers had a much more expansive view of salvation that included conversion, sanctification and glorification.

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From → Church History

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