Let not man’s sin disturb you

My friends, ask gladness from God. Be glad as children, as birds in the sky. And let man’s sin not disturb you in your efforts, do not fear that it will dampen your endeavor and keep it from being fulfilled, do not say, “Sin is strong, impiety is strong, the bad environment is strong, and we are lonely and powerless, the bad environment will dampen us and keep our good endeavor from being fulfilled.” Flee from such despondency, my children! There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan’s pride and murmuring against God. I think thus of Satan’s pride: it is difficult for us on earth to comprehend it, and therefore, how easy it is to fall into error and partake of it, thinking, moreover, that we are doing something great and beautiful.9And there is much in the strongest feelings and impulses of our nature that we cannot comprehend while on earth; do not be tempted by that, either, and do not think it can serve you as a justification for anything, for the eternal judge will demand of you that which you could comprehend, not that which you could not—you will be convinced of that, for then you will see all things aright and no longer argue. But on earth we are indeed wandering, as it were, and did we not have the precious image of Christ before us, we would perish and be altogether lost, like the race of men before the flood. Much on earth is concealed from US, but in place of it we have been granted a secret, mysterious sense of our living bond with the other world, with the higher heavenly world, and the roots of our thoughts and feelings are not here but in other worlds. That is why philosophers say it is impossible on earth to conceive the essence of things. God took seeds from other worlds and sowed them on this earth, and raised up his garden; and everything that could sprout sprouted, but it lives and grows only through its sense of being in touch with other mysterious worlds; if this sense is weakened or destroyed in you, that which has grown up in you dies. Then you become indifferent to life, and even come to hate it. So I think.

– The Brothers Karamazov