A BROTHER sinned, and the priest banished him from the church. Then Abba Bessarion also got up, and went with him, saying: “I too am a sinner”.
The men of God felt sympathetic pain not only when they saw others die from hunger or bodily sickness, but also when they saw the wicked sinning, says Chrysostom, suffering indeed much more in this case.
“Why do you hate the sinner, O man? Can it be because he is not righteous, as you are? And where is your righteousness, since you do not have love? Why do you not rather weep for him, but persecute him?” (Isaac the Syrian).
“Do you want to set your brother right?” says Chrysostom, in another place. “Weep for him; more especially, encourage him forward, counsel him, comfort him… show love to him who sinned.”
From”The Meaning of Life in the Light of Orthodoxy” (Το νόημα της ζωής στο φως της Ορθοδοξίας), by Fr Anthony Alevizopoloulou. Original at Άγιον Όρος. The anecdote about Abba Bessarion comes from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
O LORD and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, needless meddling, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of sound discretion, humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to condemn my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.