The eight deadly sins and the fight against them
Cutting off bad thoughts is a necessary condition for combating passions.
Passion is not born immediately in the soul of man. The Holy Fathers say that it begins with an adverb, or an objection. Slavic to fight – it means to face something.
Prilog arises in the mind of a person from the impressions he has seen, for some other reason or as an image imposed by the enemy – the devil. But the inflow comes against the will of man, without his permission and participation. The man himself is free to take a lie in his heart or to reject it. If a prilog is accepted, he is already thinking about, becoming his own. Fathers also call this combination or interview with the thought.
The third stage is the inclination to the thought, or the inclination, when the will is so much under the influence of sinful thought, so intimate with it, that the person is ready to go into action. Sin is already half committed in thought. As the Lord says in the Gospel: “Evil thoughts, murders, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, blasphemy emanate from the heart” (Matt. 15:19), thus showing where the sin begins – “from evil thought” about him. And the Apostle James writes: “Lust, having conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin committed death causes death” (James 1:15).
Sinful thought, which has settled in the heart and soul, is sure to someday go into action. A person who allows himself immodest glances, who does not keep his sight and hearing from seductive pictures, who has impure, lascivious thoughts in his mind, cannot remain chaste.
"Can anyone take fire in his bosom so that his dress does not burn?" Can anyone walk on burning coals, so as not to burn their feet? ”Asks the wise Solomon (Prov. 6: 27–28).
Therefore, those who want to lead a spiritual life should remember that bad thoughts should be nipped in the bud, “to smash their babies on a stone” (see: Ps. 136: 9). And the germ of a thought is (as already mentioned above) a prilog – something that does not belong to us at all, but, like some malicious insect, striving to fly into the open window of our consciousness.
Once in a book on psychology, I read that our thoughts are not at all "our property" and the product of our mind. What we think is the result of many reasons and circumstances: upbringing, living conditions, the time in which we live, the country in which we were born, and
Psychologists are advised to separate bad thoughts from good ones and form “divorce” with bad ones, that is, not to let them into your consciousness, not to consider them your own, but rather to “get married” and make good friends with good thoughts, replacing bad, gloomy, aggressive ones. thoughts are bright, kind, positive. I really liked this thought, but how surprised I was when St. Theophan the Recluse read a very similar advice: “A great mistake, and a universal mistake, to read everything that arises in us with blood property for which we must stand, as for ourselves. Everything sinful is the thing that came to us, therefore it must always be separated from itself, otherwise we will have a traitor in ourselves. He who wants to make war with himself must divide himself into himself and into the enemy rooted in him. Separating the well-known vicious movement from yourself and realizing it as an enemy, then convey this consciousness and feeling, revive dislike towards him in your heart. It is the most salutary means to drive away sin. Every sinful movement is kept in the soul through the feeling of a certain pleasantness from it; therefore, when hostility towards him is aroused, it, being deprived of any support, disappears of itself ”.
Indeed, sin and filth cannot be part of the soul, they are not peculiar, not akin to man; we are created by clear, bright, cleansed waters of holy baptism. Here lies the child, just baptized; he is pure, he is like an angel of God, and "all sin is that which came to us," it comes only later. And only by accepting it into ourselves, by agreeing with it, do we sow sin in our soul. And then oh, how to expel him is not easy.
We have to install some kind of filter in our consciousness, decide which thoughts are desirable for us and which ones should not be allowed on the cannon shot. Act as parents who can block children’s access to certain sites or television channels. There is another analogy. When the doorbell rings, we do not immediately open it without asking, "Who is there?"? No, we first look through the peephole and only after making sure that a person familiar to us is ringing, let him into the apartment.
Thoughts do not need to be afraid, but do not need to talk with them.
Somehow I confessed to one experienced priest that they had tortured sinful thoughts, and he gave me this advice: “Take thoughts as something external that has nothing to do with you. A thought can control the thoughts that come to us, but it is in our will to accept or not. ” Suppose a person is sitting in a house; windows and doors are closed; outside the windows there is a storm, a snowstorm, bad weather, but they do not harm him until he opened the window. But it is necessary to open – bad weather will rush inside, and it will become uncomfortable and cold. Thoughts are the same: they are inevitable, but they should not enter the soul and defile it.
It is very important not only to get rid of sinful thoughts and not allow them into your soul, but also to fill it with other thoughts – spiritual, bright, good. After all, there is a law: nature does not tolerate emptiness. And spiritual nature too. Remember the parable, how an unclean spirit comes out of a person and, expelled, walks through deserted places, then comes back and, having found its place unoccupied, brings seven most evil demons. A holy place, as they say, is never empty.
St. Theophan advises to put a shield after the banishment of evil thoughts at the very entrance to the soul and not to let them go back: "But for this purpose, hurry to raise convictions in the soul that are opposite to those on which the embarrassing thought rests."
We have already said that each passion has the opposite virtue. In the same way, every sinful thought can be opposed to the opposite, virtuous one. For example, the prodigal – chaste, pure; angry – friendly; thoughts of condemnation – the thought of justification, pity for one’s neighbor and
In conclusion, I will cite another advice of St. Theophan: to start the struggle with thoughts with prayer to the Lord, the saints and the guardian angel. So that we attribute the success of spiritual warfare not to our own efforts, but only to God’s help.
You need to find your main passion and deal with it both actively and in thoughts. This battle will never stop. “But everything is easier and easier … or it will be more convenient and more convenient to overcome it. And experience will be added; so it will not be difficult to notice and reflect. ”