How to Determine Whether We Are on the Light Side or the Dark Side?

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanic) gives his advice on how not to get lost in this world.

After the Fall of Adam and Eve, we live in a tragic world separated from God by our own choice.

That dreadful choice and the evil that accumulated throughout the world’s existence have brought us to our current condition.

Everyone either accelerates the global estrangement from God or helps to bring the world closer to God. We are responsible for what is going on today. Our excuses like “I have nothing to do with it,” “I’m just a victim,” “It’s them who are to blame” won’t fly. The offenses, envy, and rage that have accrued inside our hearts serve the darkness and cause all the dreadful and inhumane phenomena in this world.

We are Christians. This is the only saving straw that makes it possible for each of us to get saved and to change the world.

Indifference isn’t a Christian trait. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. Therefore, we are able to enforce God’s truth in this world by the power of our faith and to carry the light of Christ. If our faith is inert, no one needs it. It’s like salt that lost its savor, good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men (Matthew 5:13). Unfortunately, judging by the news, most of us forget about it, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world.

The light of Christian faith would dispel darkness, fill up the space and transform it. It isn’t the case. Why?

We’ve got to open the hidden windows and doors of our inner house—to open our hearts as wide as possible by making them generous and loving—to make our eyes able to see and our ears able to listen—if we want to be filled with the light of Christ.

First of all, we’ve got to understand what Christ tells us. True understanding of His words and His divine teachings is possible only if we do our best to live like Jesus, that is, abide in His Body, the Church.

Only if we participate in the Divine and saving Sacraments of the Church, will we be able to maintain our connection with God, and that connection will become the source of immortal life for us. Consequently, we will be able to hope for the proper discernment of His Divine words and for faithfully preserving His teaching.

We’ve got to listen to the words of Christ with utmost attention, to look for the Savior and find Him. Gospel parables aren’t just far-fetched stories. They occur daily and repeat in our lives until we get to their core and absorb their meaning.

Did we show mercy toward our neighbors while asking the Lord to be merciful toward ourselves for serious wrongdoings and grave errors?

Did we forgive other people’s debts when we received forgiveness of our own debts? Did we act like the merciless debtor who, having been forgiven a lump sum, didn’t have mercy on another person who owed him?

Did we Christians become the yeast that ferments the world? “If twelve people (Apostles—editor’s note) were enough to ferment the whole universe, consider how bad we are if, in spite of the fact that there are so many of us, we cannot convert the remaining souls—we who would easily ferment a thousand of worlds!” Saint John Chrysostom exclaims.

Do we use our hard-earned money for a good cause or have fun and accumulate it like the notorious wealthy man? Do we waste our power and time in vain, forgetting about spiritual riches and needs? Do we turn our backs on the eternity?

Does our faith bring fruit every day? Do we fulfill the commandment? Aren’t we like the fig tree that grows in a vineyard and doesn’t bring fruit for three years in a row? God comes looking for our fruit but when He doesn’t find it, He orders to evict us from this life.

If our actions don’t carry the mark of eternity—the infinite God’s depth—they will scatter like dust as soon as the Lord puts an end to our earthly existence. Our numerous actions will be regarded futile because they aren’t deep enough to be allowed into the eternity.

Orthodoxy is not just a narrative about God. Orthodoxy means living in God. It’s the connection between God and human, when God descends to the human and the human gets the chance to ascend to God, i.e., achieve theosis.

This is the aspiration of our God-revealed religion.

Jesus Christ established the Church so that the people clad in His Spirit would transform the world and shine His light into it.

He called us Christians into the world, which drowns in its sins, like sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16). It means that we must guard our purity and love, faith and truth. We must trust God and obey His redeeming will no matter what.

If we don’t preserve the spirit of Christ in this world, we are smeared by participation in this world’s affairs and aren’t in any way different from it. We can get saved and change the world only with God’s mercy.

May our faith be proactive! May our hearts be merciful! May our souls avoid everything that doesn’t contain this spark of love and eternity. Only if we abide in the Spirit of Christ, can we oppose evil and serve the Lord and His Church.

Only in that case will we stay on the side of light that casts away darkness.

Recorded by Natallia Goroshkova
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds

Source: https://pravlife.org/ru/content/kak-opredelit-s-kem-my-so-svetom-ili-tmoy