-Elder, how can someone be helped to not fall into the same fault?
-If one truly feels pain for his fault, he will not do it again. There must be an inner contrition with sincere repentance in order for a person to be corrected. This is why Saint Mark the Ascetic says, If one does not feel contrition commensurate to his fault, he will easily fall into the same fault again. In other words, if the mistake is minor,the repentance can also be less severe, but if the mistake is major, then more severe repentance will be required.
When people do not grasp the severity of their sins and do not experience grief commensurate to their fault, then they can easily fall into the same or even greater fault.
-How can we know if our grief is not commensurate to our fault?
-The proof is if you fall again into the same fault. In addition, when you examine yourselves, don’t just diagnose your situation. You are constantly carrying out bacterial tests; upon discovering a virus, you assess it and say, “I must kill it”but you don’t embark on a healing process. Fine, you have established that you have some disease. At once, you must find a way to treat it. What’s the point of constantly
analysing and diagnosing if you don’t try to correct yourselves?
You say to yourselves, “I have this ailment, or that ailment, “but you do nothing to cure yourself and you remain idle, lamenting your condition. You only waste your energy and remain useless. You
render your mind and your heart useless.
You get sick from grief over it but do nothing to treat it.
Later, when you get well, you start over again: “Why did i get sick then, and how did i get sick?” Of course, you will carefully observe yourselves; you won’t allow your faults to go undetected, but your grief should be contained, only go to a certain point! I’m not suggesting indifference, but you should not go to the other
You did something that wasn’t right? Did you think about
it? Did you see it? Did you recognise it? Did you confess it? Then
move on. Don’t get stuck there. Just keep it in mind so you’ll be
careful next time you’re faced with a similar situation.
Lamenting over our faults is pointless if we don’t also try to correct
them. It’s like grieving constantly over someone who’s sick without
offering him any help.
-Elder, are we not to grieve even when we rightly suffer because of
-No, you should grieve, but the grief must be commensurate to your
fault. If you do not suffer, you will remain happy-go-lucky and
careless and will again fall into the same mistake; you will not correct yourself.
But if you move from the sadness of repentance into despair, then it
means that you have grieved more than you should have.
In this case, one needs to give himself a little encouragement and face his faults with a little “positive indifference”.
Taken from Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Spiritual Counsels Vol 3″Spiritual Struggle”