Archimandrite Andrew (Konanos): Sign of Enlightened Man is Forbearance and Lack of Fanaticism

Everyone is right and everyone is somewhat wrong.

You are right. After all, what you are saying deserves attention and respect on my part. Consequently, you understand things this way. You look at a certain issue this way. I understand you.

Maybe I disagree with you because I see it a little differently. But you know how does realization that every subject deserves different points of view, perception and understanding influence me? I become more forbearing. More sympathetic. And more flexible. This helps me understand you and show sympathy. Moreover, I can no longer be a fanatic. I repeat this by stressing that a sign of an enlightened person is forbearance! It is also flexibility and lack of fanaticism. My fanaticism is not directed at you, because I understand that you are not doing it out of malice either, by so strongly defending your own opinion. You are not a bad person. Neither am I. You think, speak and feel a certain way. I disagree. Does it hurt you? Is it difficult for you to agree with me because we view life differently? Does something prevent you from understanding your child, even if you completely disagree with him or her?

Can you understand that it is unthinkable for your child to stay home tonight instead of going out intending to return late? You, as a parent, say, “You have homework and reading tonight”. From your point of view, you are right. But your child feels that they are teenagers and have their own desires, inclinations, internal motivation, the call of youth, fatigue from reading the previous times, spiritual sadness, which you ignore, and their own emotional disappointment which you will not know about, because you are confused by it. It will be great success if you manage to understand that your child sees life absolutely differently. This is why there are conflicts, quarrels, and fanaticism. Reading the lives of saints and great people, I have noticed that every one of them was forbearing and could navigate various situations. They tried to appreciate that other people are right too and said, “In order to understand this, you need to feel. But you are also right”. This was well said by Abba Dorotheos in his teaching, “When you quarrel with someone and there is no end to it, do not insist. Close this topic gracefully with these words, “My brother, in order to say this, one needs to know something. You think about it this way. You feel it this way. I respect and understand that. However, I cannot agree, but I understand that you are also right”.

This will make our life more functional. Remember this word: functional. It means that your life’s course is perfect, free of obstacles, does not cause anyone spiritual pain, there are neither quarrels nor sufferings. All of this is because you have learned to perceive every person you meet in your life. You see these things this way, but I see them differently… Nevertheless, I love you. And I understand.

If you notice fanaticism, insensitivity, insistence and stubbornness, this means that enlightenment and God’s grace have not yet touched you.

From the book “On Certain Difficulties in Marriage” by Father Andrew (Konanos)

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