Voice of the Day: Abba John the Little

In the ancient world, the abbas and ammas (fathers and mothers) of the desert were repositories of insight into Christian living. They were famous (literally famous) for short, pithy sayings that condensed a great deal of wisdom into a few words. Today’s voice of the day is from one of the best known of these remarkable individuals, Abba John the Little:

“We have abandoned a light burden, namely self-criticism, and taken up a heavy burden, namely self-justification.” — Abba John the Little.

Being willing to name, repent of, and address our sins and shortcomings is indeed a small burden compared to trying to ignore or deny them and nonetheless justify ourselves. It’s much easier to acknowledge our failures and rely on Christ to justify us. As Paul wrote, “It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” (Romans 8.33-34, NRSV)

Hat Tip: Sojourners