Leo Tolstoy and Confession

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 16, 2017

confession of sin

Leo Tolstoy and Confession

We remember Leo Tolstoy for his magnificent novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. However, that is not all there is to Mr. Tolstoy. He wrote short stories, and essays, showing how much success and equality he had with the peasants. He held everyone of great value; it did not matter to Tolstoy, in the larger town and area where he owned a large amount of land.

I could tell more about the fair and equitable way—the progressive way—Tolstoy treated the workers on his property. But, I wanted to focus especially on the moral tone of Tolstoy’s writing. He underwent a crisis of faith, became even more devout, and “became still more preoccupied with moral questions.” [1]

This excerpt comes from a set of Tolstoy’s religious essays, an essay called The Lion and the Honeycomb. He was concerned about the prevalence of drinking, smoking and using opium: in other words, “Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves?” He thought that a person’s conscience ought to be able to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Ah, he talks about the consequences of intoxication! Such a sad thing. He was a century too early. If only he had been around when Alcoholics Anonymous was founded, Tolstoy could have spread the word so much more quickly and given countless people knowledge of what options they had for intoxication and for alcoholics and addicts.

And, yes. Of course there is a spiritual deadness in people who are addicted to substances. God—the Higher Power—is often something they do not want to face, and neither is the inner conscience, the moral law, the moral dilemma. “Life does not accord with our conscience, so we bend our conscience to fit life.” [2]

Gracious God, dear Higher Power, thank You for continuing to show caring individuals—like Leo Tolstoy—that You do not abandon Your children, no matter how deeply they may be involved with addiction. Thank You! Lord, for giving abundant life. amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 240.

[2] Ibid, 241.

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