In this video recording, Archbishop Christophoros from Jordan talks about evil thoughts and how they torture us, how they reach the heart through a confused mind. This is a sermon recorded in July 24th 2022 by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – Amman – Jordan.
English translation by Waad Rabahie
Video source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – Amman – Jordan
My sons and daughters, today we listened to the Gospel reading and let each of us think about the words of the Lord: “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” [Matthew 9:4] Why? Why do we always tend to think evil in our hearts? Although we should think of goodness. We should think with good intentions.
Some of you may answer me, “How are we to think of goodness while evil is all around us!?”
Don’t fear the evil that’s outside you, but fear the evil that’s inside you! The external evil is controlled by God. God exists and He’s Almighty (the Pantocrator). But you’re responsible for the evil inside of you! And you will give account for it and will be judged for it. When we see the consequences of evil thinking, we know it’s a great deal and we need to be careful. The evil inside you tortures you. It makes you anxious and troubled. The evil thoughts you have inside plant poison, grudge, and hatred inside of you. Thus there are vices. Your heart should be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. See how we make mistakes when we think evil and moreover when we adopt evil.
Evil has levels to reach the heart. It begins with a false view of the world. We often judge external things shallowly. We don’t judge by essence. That’s why we tend to judge others strictly and harshly, while we judge ourselves with clemency. We justify ourselves and judge others. Whereas in the spiritual life the opposite should happen: you should be strict with yourself and soft with others. That is, to blame yourself and justify others. Through this shallowness of dealing with external things, we move to the mind. Thoughts enter our hearts and minds. And instead of casting away these strange thoughts, as thoughts coming from Satan, we take them, adopt them, and believe them. And we start blaming others according to them. And the worst is that we judge others, and this is a disaster. Because in judging others, we replace God. Imagine what pride you hold when you say to God: “Sit aside. I know this person and I judged him/her!” You put yourself in God’s place. There’s no greater sin. It’s the sin that was committed by the angel who became the devil. He put himself in God’s place so he fell, from an angel to a devil. Thus corruption starts entering us through the contaminated and confused mind. And we bring down this dirt of our thoughts to our hearts.
Our heart is the room, is the place where God should live through the grace of the Holy Spirit. And this place of God, instead of being pure, beautiful, sanctified and holy, we accumulate all dirt in it. While we should gather dirt and throw it outside, sadly we take it inside. Thus the heart – the nous – the mind who is in the heart is the holiest part of humans. We call it “nous” in Greek, which is the heart or the mind in the heart. The Gospel talks about it saying: “enter your room and shut your door.” [Mathew 6:6] Which room? The room of your heart. And which door…? The door of senses which we’re talking about now. This door that sifts evil thoughts and throws them outside in order to keep the heart pure, holy, and sanctified.
This is the responsibility of humans.