Tips for humble thinking

As St John of Kronstadt says in his work ‘My life in Christ’: “those who endure dishonour in this life will not be subjected to it in the next.” So I have some practical things to think when faced with dishonour.

If a person insults you, calling you a worthless person, with or without coarse language, say ‘Yes! This is true! I deserve your words because of my sins! Thank you for your caustic words!’

If a person won’t talk to you, and repeatedly ignores you, leave them alone, and say ‘God told them to ignore me, because I have been ignoring God.’

If you are feeling lonely and empty on the inside, say ‘It is the will of God for me to feel this way, Jesus faced the same feelings and worse on the cross.’

If you are feeling rejected, and you can not find true love, say ‘I can not find true love because I reject the true love of God. It is all my fault, not my love interest’s.’

If you are excluded from a friendship circle because you are different, say ‘blessed are they, because they know how wicked I am, thus they are fulfilling the Lord’s admonition to the Israelites “put the evil out from under your midst.”

If you are being bullied needlessly by an accuser, say to them ‘God bless you. Thank you for your caustic words. By your words you drive out the serpents of arrogance and anger from deep in my heart.’

Masturbation, the futility of despair

There was once a handsome gentleman called James. He was in love with a beautiful woman named Audrey. She had beautiful long black hair, and she was perfect in beauty and holiness. They agreed they would not have sex before marriage. So they existed together in perfect communion and bliss.

But one day, James met another girl called Luxifu. She was not as beautiful as Audrey, but she was sexy and hot, and seduced James to lie with her. After he had committed this wicked act, he rushed towards Audrey, and falling on his knees, said ‘Audrey! I have played the harlot with another woman, I am no longer worthy to be your fiance. But please, have mercy on me, and through your prayers grant me the strength to resist this evil woman who has seduced me.’ Audrey, without losing her cool, said ‘I forgive you, go your way sin no more.’

No sooner had he said these awe-inspiring words, and deleted Luxifu’s number out of his contact list, that Luxifu met him in the back alley, and used her erotic charm to seduce him once again. He lied with her again, and then she mysteriously left. But he remembered Audrey, and this awful sin he committed against her, and so phoned her and said ‘I have sinned this great sin again, I am no longer worthy to be called your servant.’ And Audrey said ‘I will pray for you, that you be no longer tormented by her.’

After Audrey and James’s reconciliation, as he was walking along the street, Luxifu appeared to James. James recoiled in horror, and told her ‘Get away from me! I already have a fiancee!’ Luxifu said ‘You can not resist me. Come with me, and let us take our share of love on the bed of your house.’ So he committed adultery yet again. Yet afterward he would always come back to Audrey, weeping, and beg her forgiveness. This behavior happened not for one or two years, but for more than ten years.

After all this, James ran back to Audrey, asking her forgiveness. And just as he was about to ask Audrey’s forgiveness, Luxifu came into the room, and began to beat James severely. As he was lying on the ground, black and blue, she turned to Audrey and said ‘What will become of the two of us, Shangdi Audrey? Your mercy and compassion takes the ground I have gained in this man’s soul. Why don’t you just burn him up? He has cheated on you for 10 years, yet you still love and adore him.’

‘In what way can you be called a just judge, Audrey? While I was cast out of heaven for a little breach of pride, to this man, a fornicator, sodomite and prodigal, you calmly show your sympathy and kindness. For as I see it, you receive individual people with great kindness, but ignore justice in general.’ Luxifu was fuming with rage and contempt, while a black flame poured from her nostrils.

Audrey then spoke back to Luxifu. ‘Oh all cunning and ruinous dragon, are you not yet satisfied with your destructive desire to gobble up the whole world? Can you, by making him sin, tip the scales of justice against the blood I shed on the cross? Behold my murder and my death, which I endured because I love this man.’

‘You, when you seduce him, never turn him away or cause him to repent. So likewise, I, who counselled my beloved friend Peter to forgive 77 times 7, neither turn him away, nor shun his prayers, or his pleas for my mercy.’

‘We have heard all that you say, oh seducer, that I am not just. On the contrary, I am just beyond all. In whatever state I find a man, there I will judge him. See James’s repentance, which he has shown towards me, entreating my forgiveness, and thereby having conquered you. He never lost his love for me, despite your seductions, for which he is honoured. As for you, may your hate be shred to pieces and you disgraced.’

Suddenly Luxifu started to burn, burn with unbelievable heat, which devoured her, until she exploded. Audrey touched James, lifted him up, and healed his wounds. Then they got married, and James was never unfaithful to Audrey again.

私の興味

私は興味がたくさんあります。私の興味は空手、テニス、神様、日本語と中国語です。

先週、私は空手のクラスを始まりました。とても楽しくて面白かったです。空手の先生は空手の言葉をたくさん教えました。

先月、私はテニスをしました。子供の時にテニスをたくさんしたから私のテニスが上手だと思います。

私は神様が愛していて毎日聖書を読みんです。私は地獄へ行きたくないだから良いことをたくさんして見ました。

私は日本語と中国語が少しできます。あまり勉強しないんです。日本と中国の新聞を読めません。

もしそのブログの言葉は違ったら、教えてください!日本語を教えてください!

If you are worried about hell

As a person with serious mental illness and hallucinations, I worry about the spiritual realm, the unseen realm. When I had hallucinations back in 2017, I believed a police officer was watching me, waiting for me to confess a crime before taking me off to prison. As I had Electro-Convulsive Therapy, he disappeared, and I have not seen that person since.

In my experience with church literature, such an apparition could be considered a demon. Be advised, I’m not a theologian or priest, I never went to an orthodox seminary, so my beliefs and opinions might not be credible. But now, after a lot of contemplation, I have some words of scripture for others to meditate on.

In orthodoxy, one of the comforting things is that, whether we are good or bad, we all go to the same place. What I mean by the same place is the presence of God. (Psalm 139:8: If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in sheol, You are there.) God loves everybody, good and bad, pious and impious, prostitutes and chaste, angels and demons, God shines forth his love on all. (Matthew 5:45: For He makes the sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.)

What is comforting is that, no matter what, God will always be beside me and every one of us. (Romans 8:38-39:  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

The bad thing is; not everybody experiences God’s love in the same way. For those who love God, His love is like light and warmth. For those who hate God, and close their eyes against Him, His love is like an all consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29: for our God is a consuming fire.) Another verse, when interpreted according to writings of the Holy Fathers, also illustrates this reality. (1 Corinthians 3:15: If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames.) This means that the builder is the soul, and escaping through flames means that He is being tormented in the fire of God’s love.

So rest assured, if you are a sinner, you will go to heaven, but you won’t enjoy it. I once said to my spiritual father, questioning if I had any heresy in me, said to him, ‘Is it true that there are no bars around hell; sinners can leave anytime they want, but why would they want to?’ He answered, ‘Yes, certainly there is no repentance after death.’ To further prove this reality, I will quote Matthew 13:42 (the weeping and gnashing of teeth.) Why does Jesus use weeping and gnashing of teeth to describe the state of the souls in perdition? I don’t know what the weeping means, but gnashing of teeth means the sheer anger of those in hell, which is directed at God.

Remember all of God’s qualities; love, humility, chastity, temperance, righteousness, justice, integrity, joy, and so forth. Love is evil for the hateful. Humility is evil for the proud. Temperance is evil for the glutton. Righteousness is evil for the wicked. Justice is evil for the unjust. Integrity is evil for the unscrupulous. Joy is evil for the ungrateful. So therefore, God’s goodness is evil for the bad sinner.

In my opinion, if you are worried about the state of your soul after death, you are on the right track back to God. You at least recognize your need to repent. Don’t be too hard on yourself. God will eventually give you the tools for repentance. By the insults and dishonors given by others, your soul will learn humility. By being made to wait for God’s good gifts, you learn patience. By worrying about your soul, you will eventually obtain your soul’s salvation. (Romans 8:28: for we know that all things work together for good for those who love him.) So please, my dear friends, do not lose sleep or develop a mental illness worrying about hell.

God will save us

I was discussing with my wise spiritual father about who would go to heaven. He said, ‘God can save whoever He wishes.’ And this is true. The people who you think would be least likely to go to heaven will be in heaven, while the people you’d think would most likely get into heaven will be bound and cast out by the angels.

So we should never judge anybody, because secretly that person could be crying out in secret to the Lord, begging Him for the strength to repent.

Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

lastjudgment

Some more words on hell

I was talking to my spiritual father one day, and asked him to listen to my understanding of hell, to correct it if it is heretical or doctrinally unsound. I said to him ‘There are no bars around hell, sinners and demons can leave anytime they want, but why would they want to leave?’ And my spiritual father agreed with this theology, saying, ‘There is no repentance left after death.’

I have heard from Archbishop Lazar Puhalo that some of the Fathers of the church say that people can be saved from hell after death, but the church won’t form a doctrine about it, because none of the theologians know for sure. He stated as well, ‘But we assume the love of God is greater than all things.’

Even the devil is eligible for salvation. However, there was a monk in the desert who one day asked an angel, ‘Can the devil be saved?’ So the angel returned to heaven and asked the Lord this question and came back to the monk with the answer. The angel said ‘The Lord will utterly forgive the devil, if he should repent.’ Later on, when the devil appeared before the monk, the monk told the devil, ‘You can still be saved if you repent.’ The devil laughed in his face and disappeared.

Satan would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. God does not punish the demons and sinners with some kind of material fire. They punish themselves with the fire of their own unwillingness to accept the light of God as love and warmth. When Jesus says of the last judgement, ‘I never knew you! Depart from me, you practitioners of lawlessness!’ I think he really meant what sinners say to God throughout their entire lifetimes, ‘I never knew You! Depart from me, you God of wickedness!’

I hate this place

In my mind, this reality is a prison. My house is a prison. My life is a prison. My eternity is going to be a prison. I rue the day I was created.

God created every one of us to exist eternally, but I am a rebellious angel, and I have no desire to exist in God’s presence. I truly am in a miserable place. I once discoursed with my minister that if I were the first man created in the garden of eden, I wouldn’t even require the serpent’s provocation to rebel against God. I would be shaping an ax from the bark of the tree of life and hacking and slashing the vegetation and the animals in the garden with me.

I hate this place. This zoo, this prison, this reality or whatever you want to call it. It’s the smell.

AgentSmithmeme

God indeed is life, and He deigns all of us to exist eternally, but not everybody wants to exist eternally. Not every angel or human wants to encounter the reality of God, which will become apparent after we die.

I’ve seen so much suffering in this life, both of myself and of other people around me. God already forgives everybody, but will we be able to forgive ourselves?

Death is inevitable. Encountering the spiritual realities of the afterlife is inevitable. Are we ready?

agentsmithinevitable

Purpose in life

In this world, we all have a God-given purpose. We may like it, we may not, but ultimately God determines our destiny. I am not a believer in predestination, but I believe that we must cooperate with God’s grace in order to achieve our purpose in life.

But are we doing what God wants in our life, or are we doing our own will, or even worse; saying we are doing God’s will but really doing our own will?

Take me for example. When I read into the bible, I misinterpreted many concepts, as I never had a director in the spiritual things. I interpreted the great commission for the apostles upon Jesus’s resurrection as applicable to me, meaning I had to go and preach the gospel to strangers. This was an error on my part, as living my life for God could prove as obedience to God’s will.

Street preaching is not for everybody, and certainly not for me. I thought my purpose was evangelism. But since I’ve been on better medication and hence joined the Orthodox Church, I have found new direction in my life.

Many of the protestant denominations are evangelical, as in they will go into the community to seek out new members. The Orthodox church is monastic and ascetic, meaning it leads by example, and those most shining spiritual examples are the monks, priests, bishops, nuns and hermits of our holy faith.

So, instead of talking about the bible, serving my parents is my evangelism. Going to confession is my evangelism. Working at my volunteer work is my evangelism. So I have found new direction in life.

The people of this world usually will not want to hear a street preacher approach them and introduce them to the gospel. But there is a remnant of people like myself who are trying to find the truth, and yearn to find truth. I hope a member of the Orthodox church can lead even me to the truth.

Theosis

Following on from my earlier post, I’d like to not only talk about the nature of hell, but also the concept of theosis.

Theosis means deification, which as St athanasius states is ‘a state of perfection greater than those experienced by Adam and Eve before their fall.’ There are 3 levels of walk in the Orthodox faith: purification, illumination, and deification. Adam and Eve were created at the 2nd stage called illumination. They had no sin, but they were not yet united to God. They would of been united to God had they taken of the fruit of the tree of life before their fall.

Purification is the first stage Orthodox Christians go through on our ascent of the ladder of divine ascent. It means the healing phase. Illumination is like the vision of God. Deification is the final stage, that of union with God, where they are like angels in heaven on Earth.

For those who reject the Lord’s commands through the Orthodox Church, God does not punish them as such. In the bible, Jesus describes hell as ‘the weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Why would he say ‘gnashing’? Don’t people gnash their teeth when they are extremely angry? In this case, it would be apparent that people in hell despise God so much that they grind their teeth in anger, never wanting to experience God’s presence as light and warmth.

It reminds me of what I’d think a protestant would feel in the afterlife. He might believe and loyally serve God in this world, as a pious protestant, but when he gets to heaven and sees the virgin mary sitting at the right hand of Jesus, he’d think ‘That’s not doctinally correct to venerate mary! That’s not part of my religion! I don’t like heaven very much! I hate heaven because of mary!’ So then heaven would become hell for that protestant, due to the theology he believed in during his lifetime.

There are no bars surrounding hell. Sinners and demons can leave hell anytime they want. All they just have to say is ‘Lord! Have mercy on me, a sinner!’ But as sinners are egotists, why would they want to leave hell, or bless the Lord? Egotists never stop blaming God.

Scourged by the whip of God’s love

The Protestant and Catholic traditions have a long history of believing that hell is a material fire and is a state of separation from God. This is not what the Eastern Rite Orthodox Church believes.

Psalm 139:8: ‘Even if you make your bed in Sheol (hell), I (the Lord) am there.’ I could only come up with this verse to prove the reality that hell is not a place, but a condition of the soul.

To quote Archbishop Lazar Puhalo of the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), ‘God doesn’t send anybody to hell. God doesn’t punish us either in this world or the world to come. And as St Anthony the great says, “It would be great error to think that God could love people in hell any less than He loves people in heaven.” Because hell is your condition, it’s not a place. The malice we feel is the fire that burns. The malice within our own conscience.’

St Isaac the Syrian describes the state of the sinners in hell as a state in which they are ‘scourged by the whip of God’s love.’

I shall give you an example from my own life. Each time I attend the divine liturgy at my Greek Orthodox church, I feel as though I am in hell, I feel the fire that burns. I feel the malice and rancor of my tendency to judge others, even my fellow parishioners in the temple of the Lord.

I am not looking forward to my day of judgement, where I will have to face the Lord. The Lord will not accuse me of anything. My own conscience, the basic input-output system of our morality, will accuse me, where I will feel the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Luke 13:28).

One of the Saints, in his deep humility, said, ‘I will go to the place where the devil will be condemned.’ If I were to say that about myself, it would not be humility, it would be a fact.