I have often said that the big sins of these days seem to be resentment, fear and despair.
But, although fear is the most obvious, it is not usually regarded as a sin. Similarly - resentment is frequently felt as a moral principle (social justice, entitlement), rather than an evil. And despair is mistaken for realism. So, the dominant sins of our times are too seldom noticed as such - even by Christians.
At any rate; given the fact of accelerating spiritual war, and the global socio-political victory of the side of evil, nowadays a lot of people; undesirable negative emotions are seldom far away - and these need to be combatted.
I say combatted; because these emotions are themselves an element in the spiritual war - and as such we must but Not treat them therapeutically (to be analgesed or tranquillized); but instead need to learn from them and defeat them.
(Therapy is this-worldly - treating sin with 'healing' is a demonic snare.)
We need courage not therapy; we need hope not analgesia.
And since The World of Men is now substantially in the hands of the Enemy - we need to take-our-stand outside of this corrupted world.
Therefore, when assailed by resentment, fear or despair; I find that sometimes I am able to induce myself to a wider and longer perspective; providing a bigger context for present dysphoria, and angst about the future.
This by reminding myself of certain truths. Sometimes one works, sometimes another - depending upon my current state and mood. Here are some of them, in no particular order, which might perhaps be of value as a kind of 'checklist' when the mind is clouded or oppressed:
1. Reality is ultimately created by God - and continually being-created by God; and I participate in this creation (as a sub-creator) insofar as the world is understandable to me. I look around and remind myself of this.
2. The world is Not dead, mechanical or random; the world is alive and conscious: this is a world of beings. Every 'thing' is actually a being, or part of a being. (These beings are (by choice) either on the side of God, or against God.)
3. The so-called dead are actually alive, in some way and in some place; and those of 'the dead' in Heaven remain active in this mortal life: we may help them, and they may help us. This is important work for us.
4. Sleep is a vital part of our mortal lives. Sleep is an experience from which it is intended we shall learn. It requires our attention.
5. We need to become consciously aware of much that is currently unconscious - indeed this is a major task of these times. A false non-reality is being imposed on us when we are passive, unconscious and refuse the responsibility of choosing; therefore, we need to be conscious of reality (of truth) and actively-choosing the 'real reality'.
6. God is the eternal (loving and creating) dyad of heavenly Father and Mother - yet I tend to neglect my Heavenly Mother. She surely deserves my attention, and I would surely be the better for giving it.
7. There is no fixed limit to my knowledge except my capacity of knowing - and that may be developed by spiritual experience and learning; by right alignment and right choices. Anything I need to know - for salvation or theosis - I can know. If I don't yet know it, then I have not yet asked properly.
8. My current spiritual task is related to my current situation - including bad things about Now; because my current situation is continually-being fitted to my spiritual needs by God.
9. Whatever is my current motivation or obsession has some meaning, some lesson to impart (maybe positive, maybe negative) - so is worth attending to.
10. Think about Heaven and the everlasting resurrected life to come for all those who choose to follow Jesus Christ. This choice is free and cannot be compelled - or excluded. Heaven is awaiting after the end of mortal life - if we want it, if we are prepared to acknowledge our sins and allow ourselves to be cleansed of all that contradicts eternal love. So - assuming we intend to accept the gift of it: think about Heaven.
Very timely. It can also be helpful to meditate on near-death experiences of Heaven. The effect of having your fear of death temporarily alleviated can be shockingly positive. It's hard to fear anything when eyewitnesses talk of death as a gateway to wonder and love. I enjoyed Jeffrey Long's God and the Afterlife.
@Epi - For me, I think it would have to be some kind of personal experience of Near Death, to have a significant effect; or maybe something I had personally witnessed.
Thanks, this is a great list. I have lately been suffering from bouts of resentment due to friends and family, and others, giving into the workplace vaccine mandates without a fight. I become disgusted with their cowardice and become moody and angry about it, in part because I am fighting this at my workplace with an uncertain outcome and a wife and four small children who depend on me.
In fighting this resentment I have mainly focused on the first item on your list, trying to redirect my focus to the creative possibilities in my own quest. Instead of feeling bitterly toward a particular person, I try repurposing this negative energy into a more creative/loving direction. It’s not always successful, but finding a way forward here seems to be one of the main lessons I need to learn.
Why the hyphen in "encouragement"? Stylistic or something more?
@TYM - Tending to awaken courage from within us.
Thinking out loud here:
What if anxiety/despair/depression are forms of Creative Energy? Beautiful gifts from God to push us to get out there and get on with creating. Perhaps our society is so extremely inverted that we've been taught to internally demonize our God given creation energies.
Maybe the sin isn't in the emotion - but our failure to co-create something Good/Beautiful/True with it. Failure to consume it in the act of co-creating causes it to ferment and spoil, turning it from a beautiful creative energy into something which can be turned against creation.
On the other hand, maybe these energies are not divine in origin, but perhaps a good chunk of our purpose here is to learn how to internally repurpose or recraft them into something creation aligned. I use "good chunk" purposefully: this takes continuous work and practice. The souls of mankind act as filters, and cleanse this taint by using it as fuel, subverting evil influence by choosing to use it to co-create.
@mnim - Emotions are not sins - it is the rationalization and life perspective that becomes sinful. e.g. living in fear because of what might happen and regarding existential angst as a valid and necessary understanding of the nature of the world.
Of course we can't help our emotions, and some are essential adaptive responses - but the state of fear in which many of the world are living now is regarded widely as A Good Thing, a correct attitude to the future - and that is the sin.
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