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Metropolitan Naum: What is the difference between obsession, illusion, delusion and thought?

1I have written on this topic before, but it seems there is a need to write again. Let us follow the demonic thought of vain-glory (vanity), pride, of high opinion about ourselves (self-conceit), from the beginning to the end; until it becomes an obsession.

We must first remember that there is a difference between human thought or angelic, or, God’s thought, as opposed to the demonic thought, which we call suggestion (scheme). In fact, we are interested in whether the thought that comes to us in our psychological sphere is from God or is demonic, specifically, how can we distinguish the source?

There is a general primary check, or method of recognising the thoughts, as to whether they are right according to God or not, that is – whether they are in accord with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or not. The second check is whether they are in accord with the level of spiritual development we are at, as well as with the place and role we have in the Church. The third check is whether they are in accordance with our obedience. For example, something may seem pious to us, we might be in a position to accomplish it, but it may not be in accordance with our obedience. Each thought must pass all three checks.

This is a very important reminder at the time when some “Christians” interpret the Gospel as they wish, the harmonisation of their way of life with their level of the spiritual development – they have completely rejected; and as such, for those that are spiritually self-guided – inner obedience is completely foreign to them.

The obedience is to the Holy Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, that is where the direction comes from; and is conveyed to the “field” by the Episcope of the local Church, through whose word(s) we check whether we are, or, are not, in obedience. Imagine what the Church would have looked like and whether would have still existed at all if everyone did what they wanted.

We recognise the demonic thought (scheme) by the fact that it is persistent, it is repeated and it wants to break through and impose itself in our sphere of thinking. It brings us unrest and darkness, which depend on the gradual, or final, withdrawal of God’s grace. Also it brings us, what the Holy Fathers of the Church call, “burning blood,” disturbance – especially if we accept it. The demonic thought takes us out of obedience to the Church.

Unlike the demonic ones, the thoughts that come to us from God are subtle, calm, virtuous, do not want to violate our freedom, and they bring us mainly calmness, repentance and plaintive response. The thoughts that come from God teach us obedience, to the Church, to Bogorodica (Birth-Giver-of-God) and to God. These are not thoughts that blunt our ability to distinguish good from evil, but these are thoughts that teach us how to cover the minor (non-essential) mistakes of our fellow men and to keep the peace in the Church.

Delusion appears and encompasses us at the moment when we agree with the demonic suggestion and accept it in our heart, and when grace departs from us. Without the grace of God, everything is delusion. So, the moment of acceptance of the suggestion is crucial, because then the delusion gains a dominant and decisive power over our heart as a spiritual centre, and the grace of God recedes.

The basis of delusion is the un-purified passions of the heart (vanity, covetousness and love for pleasures). Above all vanity is the worst. Vanity or pride, or egoism, or high opinion of ourselves (self-conceit), is that passion- the delusion, which, unlike the other two, is sufficiently cleansed from our hearts only after we receive the gift of the prayer of the mind in the heart and enlightenment of the mind. Until then, we are captives of that passion.

We are all in delusion – some less, some more. The biggest problem with delusion is that it separates us from God’s grace and reality, and opens the way for illusion. What is the difference between delusion and illusion? If delusion is something like an unfulfilled illusion, like an illusion of possibility, like a passive illusion, like a lie that we have accepted with our mind and heart, but which did not have the conditions to come true and waits secretly; then the illusion is a delusion which has obtained opportunity to act and it begins to be accomplished – a delusion that takes action. The line between delusion and illusion is thin.

The illusion deceives not only the mind and the psyche as does delusion, but also the feelings themselves and the whole body. It acts like intoxication. Worst of all is, because of the illusion we lose the power to resist sin and we would do something we never intended to do, that is, after its active effect has passed, we wonder how we could have committed such a sin.

Illusion drives us to action; especially when we have a real opportunity for doing it. The illusion, especially in the field of vanity- which is our topic today, requires confirmation, it seeks to be accepted; seeks to come to the fore, it seeks to have influence (authority). While covetousness and love for pleasures, in those people who imitate spiritual life, want to remain hidden. The illusion of vanity has a need to spread, to spread its authority, to become generally accepted, and therefore wants to make its possessor a medium (spreader), it wants to be famous as much as possible. Self-conceit is the beginning of the most dangerous demon possession.

When does the possibility of the delusion of self-conceit, pride and vanity open up to easily turn into an illusion, and at the same time to make its bearer into a demonic medium? With the advent of the social networks, vanity has gained its key instrument for manifestation in dimensions of illusion and obsession. You yourself are a witness to the reality: in the past, only the family and most of the neighbours knew that someone at home has a religiously disturbed personality, and now the whole world can know.

Apart from being very easily noticeable – looking from the side, the illusion of vanity (vain-glory) is impossible not to be “self-diagnosed”, especially in the moments when it is revealed and exposed. It is read like a book, it is recognized and being hurt reacts intensely. It reveals and exposes itself. We have noticed this many times.

Worst of all is, the religious sociopath – the demonic medium – has a constant need to be in clash, to be in conflict with something great (Church – Holy Synod) or with someone who is great and recognised (Episcope), in order to grow and become recognised. And, he has a constant need to denigrate the great and the famous in order to put himself up, that is, to become more celebrated. But such a one is incapable of doing anything significant – simply, the social networks are still a virtual world for now, and such a one can only become sicker – both he and the few who support him.

Are you aware of what is now happening on the Macedonian religious Facebook scene?

An oft-repeated illusion becomes an obsession; that is demon possession. Whenever the subject or object of someone’s obsession appears in the sensory field of the demon possessed, he becomes upset and reacts.

And all of you who support the demonic obsession – you know how it is done on social networks, will suffer. And you already suffer a lot, you know yourselves. Do not be deceived, the support of the demonic medium cannot go unaccounted (held responsible). Let me reiterate, I have been actively fighting spiritually for almost four decades and I have already seen too many times those who take the demonic side and try to destroy the unity of the Church. You are not something new; you are just new lost souls.

I know I’m telling you in vain, but who knows – I’m obliged to warn you: repent while you still have time!


Most-Holy Bogorodica (Birth-Giver-of- God), save us!

Metropolitan of Strumica Naum

(15.11.2020 16:51)

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