This was the topic of debate at the recently held Delhi Inter parish competition for Orthodox Christian students (MGOCSM), also known as Olive. Given the subject, I wanted to provide a personal perspective on the same coming from my background as an Orthodox Christian.
Proverbs 14:15-16 states “A simple man believes in every word, But an astute man comes to repentance. A wise man fears and turns away from evil. But a man without discernment persuades himself to mingle with a lawless man. “
Here simplicity refers to a man who is foolish, naive enough just like the man who built his house upon the sand. Building his foundation on a weak premise, what else did he expect but that the next storm would carry off his dwelling into oblivion? Today, unfortunate as it is, I see more of us being naive in faith versus our faith falling. Falling faith can be attributed to us as a society, but not to us as individuals. We don’t understand what it means to be an Orthodox Christian & like the musk deer that keeps seeking fragrance outside of itself, we look towards other denominations & seek a faith that we have barely tried to understand ourselves.
god men thrive in this environment. A combination of extreme individualism & emotional highs, after all, does seem appealing to most of us. The question to ask is, when did Christianity become about us and not God? When is it that our worship of God started getting defined by MY LANGUAGE, MY CONVENIENCE, MY TIMING, and MY DESIRES & WANTS? Is not God’s first & foremost commandment to LOVE HIM with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul first? When did that change to ‘LOVE MYSELF FIRST’?
It is this sense of individualism that corrupts our souls and makes us susceptible to ‘False Preachers’-god men who preach that who claim that all of our whims & desires are meant to be fulfilled by God, god men who preach that Christ is created, god men who preach that homosexuality, adultery, fornication is okay. Then there are those also who preach that we should hate the sin and hate the sinner as well. What kind of Christians are we, if we choose to judge others when our very lives are full of hypocrisy?
In Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells His disciples “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves’. Do not retaliate to those who do wrong to you but don’t be foolish in your understanding of the gospel such that others take advantage of you and lead you astray.
Yes, god men thrive but they thrive because we are naive, we are foolish.
I am no one to judge whether another denomination is right or wrong. However, as an Orthodox Christian, as belonging to the Church setup by Christ Himself, I know my way of faith is the true faith and hence, ORTHODOX (Ortha: True/Straight Doxa: Path/Way). It does not just mean that I go to an Orthodox Church every Sunday. What it means is that I strive to live Orthodoxy every single moment of my life and it is about God, not me.
Ask yourself, what does it mean to be an Orthodox Christian? And keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. For Christ himself says ‘Ask, and it shall be given you, Seek and ye shall find, Knock and the door shall be opened unto you’ (Matthew 7:7). Let us be the wise man, for he built his house on a rock firm foundation of faith, so that when the storm came, his dwelling was not damaged by it.