The Delusion of Illusion

The Delusion of Illusion


As kids we would tease each other constantly. Now I know you never did this, because you were a nice and respectful child, but, well, we were rascals at times! I remember the one taunt that always got me was “I know you are, but what am I?” Some kid would call me a meanie and I’d say to him “I know you are, but what am I?” Then, of course, I’d be playing with my little brother and he’d cheat and I’d call him a cheater, and that aggravating phrase would come from him to me!

How childish!

But guess what? As adults we may not use the same language but the spirit is the same when we project our own weaknesses and stumbles onto others around us. It’s actually such a common human tendency that psychologists even call it “projection.” This is when I know I have a character flaw. I see , whether consciously or not, my own weakness, and then when someone does something or says something that triggers this self-knowledge in me, I “project” this so-called “insight” onto them, and usually it isn’t accurate at all!

But we humans seem to have “that still small voice” inside us always inviting us to the grace of honest confession and repentance, and try as hard as we might, the loving grace of God urging us to spiritual health is hard to extinguish!

No wonder our Lord Jesus gets the reaction He gets from the religious rulers of His day when He tells them the truth. Their FIRST reaction is to accuse Him of the spiritual poverty they, themselves, possess. Look at Mark 3:28-35:

The Lord said, “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

When He tells them the truth, THEY INSIST that it’s Him Who has the “unclean spirit.” The conviction of the light shining on their own souls and the true condition of their spiritual lives, no matter the outward appearance, is so obvious, so clear, to them, and worse yet, to those around them, they revert to childish ways: “I know you are, but what am I?”

“Honesty” may be the best policy, but it is silly to not expect that this honesty will be received many times as painful revelation. So, it’s equally silly to be surprised by the reactions of others to this honesty. Said in love, we are invited by the Lord, to understand the weaknesses of others and our own weakness with mercy AND obedience. Just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t make it untrue!

Today, life is too short to live in the delusion of illusion; the illusion that my weakness is best left hidden, best left unacknowledged, best left unattended to. That, precious one, is the recipe for eternal childishness and spiritual sickness left to fester in my soul. No, better to hear the Truth and, as painful and uncomfortable as it may be, embrace it and allow the sweet and gentle wisdom of the spiritual medicine of the Faith to “cleanse” my own “unclean spirit.” Truth is worth the pain. It is worth the discomfort. It is worth the work. The Lord’s true family are the ones of us who actually “DO” His will and not simply intend to. That’s when we see we are becoming Orthodox on Purpose!

P.S. A Journey to Fullness is our video project we are praying and working to bring to completion. Our Demo Video is already out there and many are not only supporting this effort but sharing it with others. Have you seen the video? Just go to and learn more and then share this project with your parish priest, your family, and your friends! Thanks


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Comments (2)

  • Adriann Giovanni Reply

    My comment may sound a bit odd .. I have Multiple Sclerosis .. Recently my Ex-Husband passed away and so of course it Un-expected .. While I am of the Greek Orthodox Faith since Birth , there have been many times when I have tried to instill my beliefs in some forms onto him ..

    There was a short period in my life that was not always correct but most of what I did I did out of Love and the older I got my Faith grew stronger .. Our marriage ended in it’s 13th year .. He went to seek another life after a while ..

    Of course my heart was saddened .. My family understood .. They comforted me but it was my Faith that got me through .. My talks with my Lord and God that saved me .. My heart opened more and more ..

    So in this time I forgave him for the how, what and why .. In the time we were married only his Grandfather and Father ever showed me kindness .. He grew up in a Catholic household .. My belief is that his Mother did not appreciate my Faith as an Orthodox nor my family ..

    But we forgive them always .. So my heart is aching as his Daughter whom I have known for over 20 years in this relationship that had lasted for over 20 years .. And for which was the only one who felt empathy for my heartache .. I have not heard back from the family Matriarch ..

    This too I shall forgive .. Never fully being recognized , all the years of forgiving and praying and yet again at this time being ignored .. It is true , as I pray about the whole situation , the if only’s or what if’s .. I have been visited by the Divine and have been finding relief ..

    They were not my family .. Not even in Faith .. The one thing that should have connected us is what I believe divided us .. So as I understand he will be given a “Mass” , something he would not have wanted but that is okay , they will also cremate him and his Ashes spread ..

    As for me , most of his wishes are being followed .. So I pray that the Lord will continue to heal me and allow me to Compassion , so in Christ Jesus name I do pray .. I know who my Family is .. Much love and peace ..

    August 27, 2015 at 9:02 am
    • Fr. Barnabas Powell Reply

      Adriann, God bless you for sharing your story. May God grant peace only He can provide.

      August 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

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