The Devil cunningly induces us—instead of irritating us against himself—to notice our
neighbors’ sins, to make us spiteful and angry with others, and to awaken our contempt
towards them, thus keeping us in enmity with our neighbors, and with the Lord God
Himself. Therefore, we must despise the sins, the faults themselves, and not our brother
who commits them at the Devil’s instigation, through infirmity and habit; we must pity him, and gently and lovingly instruct him, as one who forgets himself, or who is sick, as a prisoner and the slave of his sin. But our animosity, our anger towards the sinner only increases his sickness, oblivion, and spiritual bondage, instead of lessening them; besides this, it makes us ourselves like madmen, or sick men, the prisoners of our own passions, and of the Devil, who is the author of them.
Every sin proceeds from the spirit of evil; he who sins is the slave of sin, is tortured by
sin; therefore, do not be too severe, but be gentle with him who sins, knowing our common
infirmity. Pity the sinner, as one who is sick, or who has lost his way, and is walking in
darkness, or as one who is bound with iron fetters, as one whose mind is deranged; for all
these qualities may be attributed to a sinner, or to one who is under the dominion of some
passion. It is necessary to watch over such a man in every way, so that the fire of sin should not burn him, should not darken him, should not bind him, should not plunge him into sickness, should not destroy him.