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“Those who stop short of love, hindered by legalism, miss the message of the cross…Legalism does not understand the nature of divine commands, refuses to face the complexity of many ethical dilemmas, and waives any primary obligation for showing compassion…legalism can make you insensitive to God’s mercy.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Galatians 5:6-12, Rubel Shelly)

“…our insensitivity, our indifference, and the negative memories we create in others can play a role in someone not recognizing and thus turning away from God’s presence and His love…An insensitive person often leaves a trail of destruction in her wake in the form of hurt feelings and emotional wounds. Though the insensitive person continues her life oblivious to the effect of her actions, the memories of those actions endure in the minds of others. However, the kind person, the generous person, the gentle person, the sensitive person, has such power to leave behind a trail of warm memories for people to hold onto!” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“Without honesty we do not speak in an authentic manner. But honesty also requires discernment and humility. We will be called to account for the way we present the teachings of the Church and the way we interact with others. Being honest does not require being insensitive, cruel, or judgmental. A gentle explanation does not compromise the faith. An honest reply, especially in personal matters, need not be callous or hurtful. At the same time, the theologian must not shy away from saying what must be said, even if it is difficult. Above all, theology requires love and discernment, since the goal of everything in the Church is to cure spiritual illness, not to inflict wounds.” (Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou)

“Very often it happens that people can be kind to strangers and to those with whom they have but a passing and casual relationship, but with persons with whom the relationship is longer and deeper—family, relatives, co-workers, fellow members in the same church community—it is sometimes assumed that they may be unkind, and that they even have a certain right to act carelessly and with harshness. This is a great temptation. Familiarity and everyday contact do not give one the right to act unkindly or to behave crudely. To those closest and nearest, the need for continual gentleness, tenderness and kindness in every action and word is especially necessary. There can be no excuse for insensitivity and harshness, whatever the relationship. Spiritual persons must “do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6.10).” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“According to certain traditions that the scribes and Pharisees had built up around the Law, healing was considered work, and thus was not permissible on the Sabbath. They believed they served God by zealously keeping these peripheral traditions, but this legalism made them insensitive to God's mercy…Yet ‘mercy triumphs over judgment’ (James 2:13) and though judgment, mercy and accountability are bound together perfectly by God, it is by His grace and compassion that He is merciful to us and thus we should be toward others. Legalism in situations that need kindness and compassion can do great harm to both the person receiving the poorly timed harshness and the person giving it.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 6:7, Sacramental Living Ministries)


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