From the words of St. Macarius and what Fr. Anastasios has shared, I am reminded of the homily of St. Isaac the Syrian on the subject of zeal, which also touches on the subject of correcting others:
The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian
On the Harm of Foolish Zeal
A zealous man never achieves peace of mind. But he who is a stranger to peace is a stranger to joy. If, as it is said, peace of mind is perfect health, and zeal is opposed to peace, then the man who has a wrong zeal is ill with a grievous disease. Though you presume, a man, to send forth your zeal against the infirmities of other men, you have expelled the health of your own soul; be assiduous, rather, in labouring for your own soul’s health.
If you wish to heal the infirm, know that the sick are in greater need of loving care than of rebuke. Therefore, although you don not help others, you expend labour to bring grievous illness upon yourself.
Zeal is not reckoned among men to be a form of wisdom, but as one of the illnesses of the soul, namely narrow-mindedness and deep ignorance.
The beginning of divine wisdom is clemency and gentleness, which arise from greatness of soul and the bearing of the infirmities of men. For, he says, ‘Let the strong bear the infirmities the weak,’ and ‘Restore him that has fallen in the spirit of meekness.’ The Apostle numbers peace and patience among the fruits of the Spirit.
This is a valuable text to save to your computer, print, re-read, and frequently recall. Personally, words such as “fanatic,” “liberal,” “conservative,” have always caused me some irritation because of the subjectivity of such claims. Why must we always label and categorize people in this way? Is something Orthodox or not? In the Church, it is not enough to do or say the right thing. A good deed and a good word must be done or given in a good way. It is true that Roman Catholics, Copts, Armenians, and others are heretics and not Orthodox. Is it proper for an Orthodox Christian to go up to everyone belonging to these faiths and call them heretics to their faces? This would be an example of immoderate, inappropriate, unwise zeal that is not productive. Or, should we buy a bumper sticker that says, “Have you punched an Arian today? Go St. Nicholas!” Is it true that we consider ourselves zealous because our quickness to judge others as not Orthodox, yet inwardly we are robbed of peace because we do not ourselves live up to the measuring stick applied to others? This would be a great problem. Or, do we in our laxity judge others as extremists and fanatical because we ourselves do not wish to humbly submit to the full demands of our Faith? Do we also read the lives of saints and consider that they were somehow “off base” also? This is also a bad sign.
In general, we should not be judging and gossiping and labeling everyone as in this or that camp along the spectrum of Orthodoxy (is there really a spectrum is something either Orthodox or not?), unless we need to warn someone who might be harmed by bad teaching to which they may be exposed. The labels, “liberal, conservative, etc.,” are very subjective. As an example of the subjectivity of such labeling as “liberal,” “conservative,” etc., many on this forum consider Old Calendarists to be “extremists” in general. Within Old Calendarism, the Florinites consider the Matthewites to be extremists, Matthewites and Florinites consider the Cyprianites to be crypto-Ecumenists and liberals. Met Vitaly of ROCOR in 1986 was considered “extremist” by many in World Orthodoxy, while those who left ROCOR to establish HOCNA at that time considered him liberal and ecumenist. Worldly people in World Orthodoxy in America may consider Elder Ephraim and his monasteries “fanatical” or “extremist,” while Old Calendarists consider his monasteries “ecumenist” and “liberal” for being on the New Calendar and part of World Orthodoxy. So, why not leave such labeling and judging aside, strive through the Fathers and through prayer and fasting to acquire a true Orthodox understanding and a true Orthodox repentance, bring concerns about the faith of our priests and bishops to our priests and bishops, and humbly and when appropriate warn our brothers if they are going in a bad direction and if we are in a relationship with them where such warnings would be warranted?