This question was answered by St Paul the Apostle at the very beginning of Christianity. He explained that regardless of how bright the ideas on the revolutionary placards are, “…our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (see Eph. 06:12). That means that a Christian is not fighting with specific people, but primarily with his own passions and crafty spirits that ignite them. One who has not extinguished the flame of passions in his soul and body will not be able to extinguish it in other people, but rather on the contrary, will fuel it even more.
Revolutions are supported only by those Christians who, due to the excessive everyday vanity, have lost their dogmatic and canonical consciousness, replacing it, in the words of the religious philosopher N. Lossky, with dreamy (pharisaical) piety. Most of these people deny the very need to fight passions, silently or openly declaring the vilest of them to be the norm.
Can such people’s minds be changed?
A Christian enveloped in flames of vengeance cannot convince a passionate person just as a revolutionary plays into the hands of injustice instead of redressing it.
Today the hotbed of passions has grown so much that we are simply unable to extinguish it with our own efforts. The Almighty God Himself is doing it by allowing a pandemic of a fatal disease.
Unfortunately, only a very small part of people go to church on Sunday and repent of their sins; only a few are at war with their own passions. The majority, as God figuratively told the prophet Jonah, does not know how to distinguish the right hand from the left, that is, they cannot understand where the truth is or where the lie is (see Jonah 4:11), relying on the vaccine or hoping that this trouble will bypass them. Perhaps it really will; however, given the long duration of the pandemic, it can be assumed that the Lord will hardly extinguish the flame of the disease until most people repent, that is, completely change their lifestyle.
Now more than ever, the words of the holy prophet Isaiah sound relevant: “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts. They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you. Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land;”But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken. How the faithful city has become a harlot; she who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your drink diluted with water; your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does the widow’s plea come before them. ”(Is. 1: 14-23).
Don’t these prophetic words expose those who profit from local wars and boldly rebel against all yearning for peace? Don’t they condemn those who are carried away by political intrigues trying to justify the schismatics proudly rebelling against the church? These words are probably also addressed to all who, in their chase of excess profit, cut down forests, poison lakes and rivers, grow genetically modified vegetables and fruit, destroying people’s immunity and making us vulnerable to dangerous viruses. These prophetic words also expose all those who profit from the spread of debauchery, selling drugs and alcohol; as well as those who, through political talk shows on television under the guise of seeking the truth, provoke and incite anger and condemnation.
If the majority of people could emulate the prodigal son and return to their father’s house, that is, to the One Holy Catholic Orthodox Church, which after being nearly destroyed by atheists in the twentieth century is now again under attack, this time by the new politicians who are trying to completely bring it into disrepute under all kinds of nationalist slogans; only then can we hope that The Lord will have mercy on us.
A Christian cannot be a revolutionary, because first of all he sees his own imperfection and directs all his soul’s forces to fight against it, having no time to deal with other people’s sins. The Holy Apostle Paul urges Christians to take no lethal weapon, but the shield of faith, wherewith we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the wicked one, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Eph. 6: 16-17)
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds