Holy Fathers
Orthodox Elders
Athonite Hermits
Icons & Frescoes
Holy Land
Monasteries, Churches
Pascha Holy Light
Monastic Obedience
Various Photos
What's Orthodoxy?
Who started it?
Is it 2000 year old,
before catholicism
and protestantism?

Athos Monks[play]
Th. Vassilikos[play]

Struggle against Sin.

Any sin is a problem both for us and for those around us. Sin separates and repels us from others. Sin that has not been rooted out weighs heavily on the heart and turns people away from each other. Whenever we gain victory over sin, we win others and ourselves for a life of mutual understanding of all people. Victory over sin opens the way for mutual attraction and kinship of people according to their nature: when defeating ones own sin, one helps another person, even without that personís cooperation, to reveal the better qualities of his or her soul and attracts the other person toward good. When a person defeats sin in himself, reviving the better aspects of his inner self, he reveals a spiritual treasure in others and helps them see the things they could not see in themselves before.

Good finds a response in those who have it, but cannot yet see it. While a person is possessed by sin, he is afraid of others; but when he defeats sin in himself, he makes those around him good. It is important to understand and feel it, because in our normal state we are dominated by pessimism, and it seems to us that evil has taken full possession of the whole world. Such pessimism discourages us from fighting against sin or at least makes us less active in this fight.

When we first meet a person, we do not and cannot see the hidden treasure of good in that individual. When we defeat sin in ourselves, we begin to see this power of good in others; we begin to see the treasures of virtue in anotherís soul. When a sinful person sees someone else doing good, he gains strength to act as a Christian. To search for and find goodness in oneself and others is a great joy that can be compared with no other joy. The power of the grace of God manifests itself in multiplication of good in the world; it manifests itself in that it helps us to do things we would have not been capable of doing otherwise. It often happens in life that a person "does sin that he does not want to do" (Apostle Paul). This unwilling slave of sin can find in someone elseís goodness strength that moves him to do good in his everyday life.

To be truly happy, and not just have a fake feeling of happiness, we need to defeat sin in ourselves. We should always pay close attention to what motivates a personís outward actions and what possesses him on the inside, carefully examining his actions and desires. This is not easy, but our life consists in our relationships with other people. We need to brighten our relationships with the light of Christís Truth, so they will not be harmful to us and to those we interact with. If there is peace in our souls, then our joy shall never be taken away from us. On the contrary, lack of peace always brings unhappiness. If a person has peace inside, then his peaceful heart radiates light on everything around him. Peacefulness of heart is the main achievement. Actions, illumined by such a heart, turn all relationships for good. Sinful state that comes from someone else in the form of irritation turns out for our good, if we contain our irritation. It serves for our and the other personís spiritual well being; this way we also stop the other individualís irritation. This produces good both for the one who showed meekness and for the one who was irritated. This brings happiness in life. Victory over sin brings good, and caring for oneís own salvation brings good to society.

Being a positive force, the good develops and calls to life the good that is latent in other peopleís lives, the good which until now was hidden under a layer of indifference and evil. Goodness creates an atmosphere that helps us fight evil in our Christian lives. It may sometimes appear that working on rooting out evil in oneself is selfish, that such a person is preoccupied with himself and does not care about others. But this is not so. A person, who has not yet dealt with his own sinfulness, cannot have a good influence on others, cannot help them and cannot support them in defeating their own sins.

Such a person cannot work for the common good with the same power and to the same extend as if he could have, had he defeated sin in himself. Holiness is a great communal good and power. If we desire to really serve our neighbor, we ought to first clean ourselves from sinful habits and inclinations, become pure and live a God-pleasing life. We can be helpful to others in solving their problems and in comforting them only to the extent of our own progress toward perfection. This is the only way to serve those around us. The one who has achieved holiness is the one who has the most potential to serve others. To understand this, one need only recall the names of St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Seraphim of Sarov. People came to them from everywhere, and they were able to help in every need. They served society in a perfect way, because they brought true good into the world: they experienced good themselves, and therefore were able to teach good to others. In the eyes of God humankind is one body. Each separate personal expression of holiness cleanses the whole body. Saving ourselves, we contribute to the salvation of humankind.

The inner person is primarily built up not in a moment of extraordinary spiritual feats, but in the course of everyday, mundane life. The purpose of a human being is to build up the inner life and to build the Kingdom of Heaven within oneself. Fighting against sin, we strengthen the Divine life in ourselves and in the world. Fight against sin also reveals dogmatic truths, and we get closer to the knowledge of Divine life. Such life is both the building of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God itself manifested in power. Then we can better understand the words of the Lordís Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done."

When we defeat sin, overcome separation and become united, then we reach unity in thought and desire. In this unity of feeling and desire, we begin to understand the will of God and its demands on us. This is the unity for which the Lord Christ prayed. This unity of mind and love is not an abstract ideal, but an active task of life. We can approach this unity by discovering our spiritual kinship. Salvation is not a theoretical concept, but a way of action. Unfortunately, not all people who go to church understand this. We ought to fight sin in order to become close to one another and to carry out the task that has been given to us in life.

Sin that lives in us blinds us and makes us look for excuses before ourselves. It is the devil that encourages us to justify ourselves. We are unlikely to realize our sinfulness until our conscience wakes up, which is sensitive not only to individual sins. Due to our sins, we bring separation everywhere, and every desire of our heart for good is something that goes to the scales. Our self-justification of our sinful acts is an enemy of our salvation. It is only when we realize the danger of sin that we can have a will to fight against sin. We are indifferent toward sin until we realize that it deprives us of happiness. We consider sin to be our nature. "This is the way I am, and I cannot be any different." "This is my character." Yet character is not something we cannot fight. When we decide to resist sin, we ought to realize that sin is not an original part of our nature, but has attached to us. Our first ancestors were created sinless. Sin is something that entered our nature, attached itself to us and rose against those states of the soul that are natural for the soul as it was created in the image of God. Sin enslaves us, enters into our nature as a foreign element, and then everything else becomes mixed with sin. It is extremely important to understand that sin is foreign to our nature: this realization will help us fight sin. The moment of enlightenment from the Lord, the moment when we realize our sinfulness, has to do first of all with our will, because sin enslaves our will. The "weakness of will" is from the evil one. But if my nature is mixed with sin, then how can I fight myself? To develop will to fight sin in myself, I need to know, that sin does not belong in me. This knowledge strengthens the will to oppose sin.

Return to the first page

[ Orthodox Resources / Multimedia / Screen Savers ]
[ Bookmark OrthodoxPhotos.com / Homepage ]

Recommended books for: orthodox & non-orthodox people

Copyright © 2003 - 2021 OrthodoxPhotos.com All rights reserved.