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07 - DISCIPLINE OF THE SENSES: DISCIPLINE OF THE EARS

DISCIPLINE OF THE EARS:

Perhaps the most common offense to the ear is bad music, bad lyrics even blasphemous lyrics. Very loud and violent music is also to be avoided. I sometimes walk into a store to buy something, and I hate the music they are pumping into my ear. Some music gives me the feeling that the devil is beating the drums!
One of the most offensive media now is music videos. Not only are you bombarded by very lustful lyrics sung in a very lustful way, but your eyes are also bombarded with very lustful scenes. The results are devastating and they are all over the TV.
Bad music often sticks to your mind and the words keep repeating themselves in your mind while you are working or walking or even while you are praying.
Another offense is hearing heretic talk or watching heretic programs on TV. I often look at and listen to “so-called” TV evangelists, and not one of them passes my stringent test of Orthodoxy. There is often nice words from the Bible that entice the simple and the uncritical, but there is always the poison hidden in the honey.
“Preachers” who think that they can explain the prophesies of the Bible are all over the waves. There are those who speak of the “Left behind” phantasy also known as the “Rapture heresy”. This heresy is less than 150 years old, and it teaches that Christ will come to take the Church out of the world before the “Great Tribulation”. Let me quote you from an e-mail I received from a Protestant who wants to join our church:
I am sincere in my search for Christianity, as it has always been. I would love to learn more about the Orthodox faith but I really don’t know where to start. Any suggestions would be great!
Here's a little background about me that might help explain how I came to believe Orthodoxy to be the true Church. I have been studying the Bible for 6 years now, first within the Pentecostal tradition and more recently in the Anglican tradition. I was “hood winked” by the Left behind (fiction based end times) and fell in with strict Protestants, disregarding Holy tradition of the Church. With serious study I feel the Bible can only be understood from an Orthodox perceptive.
Listening to new teachings can be the down fall of many in the time of Antichrist. For the deceiver will preach the Bible in order to deceive people, and put the poison of his teachings in a Bible covered pill. Hearing gossip is another offense. Maybe you say I do not take part in gossip but even hearing gossip is a sin. The desire to know the affairs of others is equated by St. James with murder and stealing, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.” (1 Pet 4:15)
Listening to gossip leads us eventually to judging other people, forming wrong impressions about them and ultimately to spreading rumours about them.
Listening to other people telling me what a certain person is saying behind my back is a very serious problem, especially with our young people. Someone comes to you and says this person is saying bad things about you behind your back, and you no more want to talk to this person. What you don’t realize is that the person who is reporting to you is himself or herself talking about someone else behind their back! The solution for this? Tell the person who is reporting to you, “come and tell me this in front of that person.” Remember that a person is innocent until proven otherwise.
Listening to vain and empty talk is another sin!Remember what the Lord said, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matt 12:36) Remember the story of the monk that was sitting chatting with the other monks, then, going to his cell, another monk saw him circling his cell several times. So, he asked him what he is doing. He answered, “I am getting rid of all the worldly talk we were talking about, because I don’t want to bring it in with me into my cell!”
Finally, one very difficult offense to get rid of is listening to flattery! We all like it when people say good things about us but we forget what the Lord told us, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luk 6:26) Flattery will be one of the most potent weapons that Antichrist will use to deceive people. The book of Daniel tells us that. In Daniel 11:21 we are told, “he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Also in Daniel 11:32, “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries” And again in Daniel 11:33-34, “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.”

PROPER USE OF THE EARS:

Again here we should wean our ears from the bad things they have become accustomed to. Exercise yourself. Lent is a good time to teach your ears to fast from bad music, from gossip and all other unnecessary things like spending long time on the phone in idle talk.
Another thing we can do is to train our ears to perceive God in everything we hear. As an example, if you hear a beautiful tune, think of how much beautiful will be the music we will hear in heaven. Repeat in your mind the words of the beautiful hymn, “There David stands with harp in hand As master of the choir. Ten thousand times that man were blest That might this music hear. Our Lady sings Magnificat With tune harmonious and sweet And all the virgins sing their part Sitting about her feet.”
Another exercise is meditating on the Passion of our Lord when we hear things. For example, if you hear the clock going ding dong, meditate on the sound of the nails being hammered into the hands of our Saviour.


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