57 Do Not Boast by Who You Are
Let virtue itself and alone be the true honor, which you relate to. Do you want to know the honor of your root? Open the tombs and you will see the remnants of some bones, defiled and maybe relics. Will this give you pride? Job the righteous said; “If I for the grave as my house… and say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘You are mother and my sister” (Job 17:13, 14). You are much better off being righteous and virtuous, while being a son of a poor man and a grandchild of a low man who has no honor, than being from among the wealthy, honored, and well known, while being desperate, free of goodness and ethics.
If your family is an honorable one, of high standards, but you are evil and debauched, you would defile your roots. Someone who is virtuous and gradually makes himself honorable is better off than having it and then losing it! What good would your honorable roots do, when you are not keeping or preserving this honor? You want to know something serious, but do not be upset, being proud of your roots proves one thing; you are wretched and despised, poor and want to acquire what is not yours, but belong to others, and want to use, while you are actually naked, trying to put on others’ clothes to look good in! I doubt if these matters benefit you, for it is borrowed and not yours. Those who will try to imitate you, will be like the ones who show-off the virtues of others and announce to people his own faults! Your honor is your goodness not your roots, your work not your relations.
The Savior said to the Jews, when they were boasting for their roots and relation to Abraham, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39). So, if you love to be related to an honorable root, and try to maintain and keep the standards of the name of your family, follow in their path and walk in their way.
David was of poor roots, but his virtue and righteousness, were high-rise building of glory, and made him honorable. What did Ahab, who was an evil king, son of kings, do? He was king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in the time of Elijah; married to Jezebel, a Sidonian princess, which caused religious turmoil; robbed Naboth of his vineyard and then caused his death (cf. I Kings 16:29-2:40).
What good would the running water do in a channel free from dirt, but troubled or turbid by mud?
Ezekiel the prophet said, as he was rebuking Jerusalem; “your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite” (Ezekiel 16:3). He told them so, not that they were their offsprings, but because they followed their desires and lusts.
Do not boast because of your honorable roots, and then despise others for they are of lower standards or from a poor family. Aren’t we all from one father? If he is honorable, we are all so, and if despised, we are also.
We are honorable and glorified for we are God’s children, the heavenly King, we call on Him in love, saying: “Our Father”, for He is our father all, not to one of us. But if you were of honorable roots, you will here; “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:44).
The relation of a man to poor parents, should not be a cause of despise, for man did not choose for himself his family, he is born in, so do not despise or put down a man who was born as such, but respect him, and consider him as yourself, as long as he is virtuous and righteous. Be aware that if you were a king or a prince or of authority, or rich, you are still a human being. And if one was poor or despised, he is also a human being, just like you, you are not better than him except by these vanishing factors, and fantasy pictures!
God chose Saul to be king over Israel, from one of the smallest tribes of Israel. God also appointed Jephthah the Gileadite, who was the son of a harlot, to lead the Israelites, to save them from the hands of the Ammonites (cf. Judges 11).
And our Good Savior did not choose His disciples from the princes, or the honorable ones, but rather fishermen, ignorant and despised, to put off the rich and wise.