Sweet words and great truths have value when uttered by righteous lips. They take root only in people of good will and clean conscience. Truth, when used without judgment, can commit a crime. And he who possesses sincerity without reason commits a twofold evil, first against himself, then against others. Because there’s no empathy in his sincerity. A Christian must not be a fanatic but have love in his heart for all. He who throws words around carelessly, even true words, does evil. Veneration is a good thing, and the predisposition for good is also good, but spiritual judgment and breadth are needed to guard against fanaticism, that false companion of reverence.” –Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
Excepted from a longer quote at Christ Conquers
The Blessed Elder Thaddeus was one of the foremost elders of twentieth century Serbia, filled with the Holy Spirit and blessed with many spiritual gifts including clairvoyance. He had a dream in 1987, when he was 73 years old, that he was in a large church, kissing the icons.
Christ Himself appeared before the icon of the Lord. He was weeping. Upon being asked why He was shedding tears, He answered that it was because, when confronted with evil, people fought back with evil.
The only thing we truly have control over — although it is surely a struggle to wrest control away from the many forces that would try — is our thoughts. Our thoughts are so powerful.
Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.
In our minds we conceive everything we do, say, and plan. Without this we cannot do or say anything. Everything first receives its shape and form in the mind; all of our energy is first made manifest in our thoughts. Thoughts are the power that conceives everything in the center of our being (the heart), and when we are united with the Source of life, everything is revealed to us and we are open to all kinds of knowledge.
When a person has the Grace of God, his thoughts are unbelievably powerful, because it is the power of God Himself that acts in us. If we have turned away from God in our thoughts and hearts, then our thoughts can be terrible, even death-dealing, to our fellow men. If we are united with the Lord with a heart full of faith, the power of Grace works in us. But if we have not yet cleansed ourselves from pride and still feel offended and angered when others say unkind words to us, then the power of God in us is diminishing.
From Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, St. Herman of Alaska Press, 2009, 2011.
“People don’t simply wake up one day and commit genocide. They start by setting themselves apart from others, diminishing the stature of those adhering to dissenting beliefs in small, insidious steps. They begin by saying, ‘We’re the righteous, and we’ll tolerate those others.’ And as the toleration diminishes over time, the inevitable harms are overlooked. It is for that reason that James Madison wisely wrote that ‘it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties’.”
—Michael Newdow, “Judge Roy Moore Deserves Jail. How is this in any way different from David Koresh’s refusal to abide by the commands of the federal agents in Waco?,” Beliefnet.com, 2003-AUG, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/