Probably, each of us has wondered why it is so hard for some people to be faithful to the truth, to goodness. Why does a person who seems to be a believer proclaiming his Orthodox views all of a sudden falls into heresy, goes into schism, or stoops to paganism?
All these questions come down to one common “denominator”. Let us recall Christ’s answer to the scribes and Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites… Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:23-26).
What do these words mean?
Christ establishes a direct link between the ability to believe, to perceive the truth, goodness, and the state of the inner, moral life of a person. Not the external, ostentatious one, but the inner one that nobody can see, except God.
History shows us that mistaken religious beliefs are almost always preceded by abandoning the path of piety, moral decline, living in a way that is not consistent with one’s conscience and faith.
A person is meant to become the dwelling of the Holy Spirit but, filled with sin and vice, they deprive themselves of divine grace, become unable to accept the truth and begin to wander.
It is a dangerous path. However, it is even worse when a wanderer lures others in. The blind are walking a tightrope. The tragedy is inevitable.
Faith and vice are different by their nature and, being polar opposites, they can never be reconciled. That is why sinners have no choice other than to get rid of the faith that constantly urges them to fight their own selves, their sins.
Vicious people destroy the divine faith in their hearts and create their own faith instead, one that would justify vice and guarantee them inner peace, albeit a fake one.
Let us try to not only go to church, but also live the church life according to our faith. Then we will not be afraid of any vicissitudes of life and we will be able to resist the delusions of wandering people.
Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary
Translated by Julia Frolova