We all make many mistakes. Mistakes for which after (or immediately) we have to pay dearly. Which we have to correct painfully for a long time. We spend extra time, energy, burn nerve cells, quarrel with loved ones or even lose them. Were it not for these mistakes, our life would be fundamentally different – much easier, brighter, purer, better.
I agree: none of us is safe from mistakes, it seems impossible to avoid them completely. But here is a wonderful, extremely effective way to minimize them, and therefore, greatly simplify our lives.
This way comes down to one immutable rule: not to be rash. Although this rule is formulated briefly, it is extremely significant. It implies that we should not make rash decisions, commit rash acts. Even in our hearts, we should not be angry, upset or rejoice rashly, judge someone or put someone on a pedestal as a role model.
How does it usually happen? We hear the news disturbing our inner peace and react to it – rejoicing, getting mad or grieving. Or something else. And we make mistakes. And we are not alone at this.
A remarkable ascetic of antiquity, Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus, found out that Saint John Chrysostom is… an enemy of the Church. He is given arguments, he is convinced by them, he is immensely ardent and zealous in his love for the Church. What is left? To go to Constantinople and take an active part in the deposition of this archpastor. Without any doubts, Saint Epiphanius rushes to the capital of Byzantium. He is driven by the purest and noblest impulses, the most exalted love. There is only one thing: he has not tried to figure out carefully whether everything he has heard is true? And what is more: i0s this true at all?
He realized his mistake later – in Constantinople. And left it – with pain, bitterness and shame. And he died on a ship taking him away from the city, entangled in intrigue and slander, as in tentacles of a giant octopus.
The world in which we live is immensely complex: the complexity inherent in each of us multiplies by our multitude. We see in different ways, speak our minds in different ways, perceive in different ways. And all this creates such chaos, such confusion – whether on a global level, or on a household level – you cannot immediately navigate it, you cannot figure it out.
That is why it is so important never to follow the first impulse in this or that situation; and not to do anything obeying it, not to judge, not to give your already worn out heart to the first feeling that has arisen.
A simple rule: not to be rash.
Having heard something, faced with something, thought about something, first of all ask yourself the question: do I have enough information to draw any conclusions, or just a little bit of it? Do I see what is happening from different angles, sides, or is my view narrow and my opinion – one-sided?
Did I bother to ask what’s what all the participants of the happening, or did I trust only one of them and, perhaps, not the most reliable and respectable one? It happens so often that, after listening to, say, one of the parties of the conflict, you are sure that he or she is right. But after listening to the second one, your confidence fluctuates: it seems now that this second party, is right. And when you meet both at once, and try to understand everything, you will say, like wise Khoja Nasreddin once said: “You are right, and you are right as well, only the one who has set me to judge you is wrong”. And, as a rule, nobody sets us to judge.
How many sorrows and illnesses can be avoided if you are truly careful! How many conflicts, how many quarrels! How many irreversible losses! And how many sins…
How important it is not to be rash!
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds