RIDDING OURSELVES OF THE OLD
WE MUST BE ADORNED WITH THE NEW
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking.
and blasphemy be put away from you; be kindhearted
to one another, be tender-hearted, forgiving one even
as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 5:31-32).
The above-mentioned vices are poisonous when they enter the soul of a man, for they cause him to be extremely wretched and miserable, and in such misery he infects others with the same disease, rendering them to be the same or even worse than himself. But with the virtues of “kindheartedness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness as did Christ”, these virtues could joyfully rub off onto others, thus spreading more goodness and joy everywhere.
So we must cleanse our souls of every filthy and wicked vice with which we were infected by the evil one. St. Paul in the above thoughts which he received from God advises us to abandon all evil and acquire goodness. But without serious self examination and self evaluation it is not possible for us to change our character and become truly members worthy of Christ’s kingdom.
To accomplish good things we must first examine ourselves and then cleanse our souls from all impurity. After ridding ourselves of vices, we must be replace them with their opposite original virtues, such as humility, meekness and holiness peace and all blessings..
Thus St. Paul’s words call upon us to examine and correct ourselves getting rid of all vices and struggle to eliminate every form of evil from our souls. The life of man in sin is known as the old man to which sin has become a habit and drags a man into suffering and every form of evil. The old sinful man is fallen and needs to be done away with spiritually. This is accomplished by first by self-examination, then recognizing the evils getting rid ourselves of the old man of sin.. St, Paul then advises to put on the new man by being kind-hearted toward one another, to be tender-hearted, forgiving each other even as God in Christ forgave you”
After ridding ourselves of every form of evil, then we are well prepared to adopt good habits and acquire every form of virtue, such as humility to replace the vices of arrogance and pride; also putting on the virtue of meekness, as Christ says: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble in my heart.” Meekness is the virtue with which man rids himself of its opposing vice, unreasonable anger and wrath, and such a man enjoys peace within himself, much relieved for anger is a very heavy burden.
When examining and correcting our lives, it is not the time to examine others seeking to correct their lives as we did ours. This is not what is proper, for we must concentrate all our efforts to correct ourselves. But we must spread this knowledge among as many people as possible and this is accomplished by our example which is the best form of teaching. For good behavior is important and attracts people, especially if they who were formerly filled with anger, change and become humble and meek in their hearts.
Getting rid of all our vices frees us from their evil grip but acquiring virtues fills our souls with light and gladness. Vices describe the many defects of the soul which cause people to appear ugly and gruesome. Vices are unhealthy and cause wretchedness to those imprisoned by them. So we must rid ourselves of all vices and acquire virtues which will restore us to health and happiness.
This will take much effort, but the Lord will always assist us and the reward is the joy of everlasting life. This is what the Orthodox Church is about, for the prayers, the services and the mysteries are for a congregation of repentant sinners, and every sinner is invited into the saving realm of repentance which leads to eternal life and the salvation of our souls. If we fail to follow this repentant form of life, we will cut ourselves off from the kingdom, while to follow a virtuous life in Christ is our great hope of everlasting life.