Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Negative Thoughts Separate us from God

This I find to be my weakest point where the devil is constantly attacking me. Whenever I catch myself having negative thoughts about another person, I discover that all I am doing is trying to show myself how much more perfect I am than the other person. It is only my self-importance that is being satisfied by my negative views of others. More often than not, it is a thought about something I well know and dislike in myself but deny. But most importantly, this way of thinking is a sure block from God. My attention is not filled with love but instead on myself. As it says in the Book of Wisdom (1:3)  "For perverse thoughts separate men from God."

Saint Ambrose of Optina writes,
"Look at everything simply. Living simply means not judging. Do not judge anyone. For example, here comes Elikonida. She passed by, and that is all. This is what thinking simply means. Otherwise, as seeing Elikonida passing by, you could think about her bad side: she is such and such, her character is thus and so. That is not so simple." (Fr. Sergius Cherverikov, Elder Ambrose of Optina, p. 235)

Elder Paisios writes
 "If one lives in the world of his pride, that is the world of his own thoughts, he is filled with illusions and he is in danger.... As long as he humbly thinks of himself, God's grace remains within him and protects him.  When he moves away from his humble thoughts and start being preoccupied with what the patriarch or the bishop or abbot or monks do or say, then God's grace starts retreating.  Therefore the most important thing for us to look after is to preserve the sense of humbleness in our lives, and thus allow for divine grace to permanently remain within us." (Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain by Priestmonk Christodoulos, p. 40)

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