Okay maybe I am wrong being new to the OC and all but, if I were to go out tonight and think that my next door neighbor is a jerk and maybe say something impolite under my breath that is wrong right? But if I were to go out tonight and murder my neighbor that would be worse. If these are both viewed in the sin is sin way then does the Orthodox Church teach that both are as serious as the other.
Theosis is not some strange, alien phenomenon which must be introduced into our lives. Theosis is the natural state for which we were created, and it is the goal and aim of human existence. Whenever we act in a way which prevents us attaining this "goal" of Theosis, then we "miss the mark", which in Greek is "harmatia"
, i.e. "sin". No one
enters the Kingdom of Heaven without attaining Theosis, and any sin, no matter how "small" or "less serious"
prevents us from attaining Theosis.
Picture again the set of scales I posted in this thread:
/\  /\
| |  | |
| |  | |
| |  | |
| |  | |
\______/  \______/
On the one side of the scales, let's place the so-called "less serious" sin. Let it be the "smallest" sin you can imagine. On the other side of the scales, lets put all the good works and merits of the Saints- the blood of the Martyrs, the sufferings of the Confessors, the teaching of the Apostles, the fasts, vigils and mortification of the monastics, and for good measure, lets add the Theotokos herself! According to Orthodoxy, not even all these will be able to outweigh and lift the "smallest sin" on the other side of the scales.
If all these cannot outweigh the smallest sin, what makes you think that a sin being "less serious" means anything
about it's magnitude?
Only one thing
can tip the scales in favour of Theosis and outweigh the sin, and that is, the mercy of God.
Listen to the prayers of the Church. In the original Koine of the Divine Liturgy, before the Lords prayer and before Communion, we pray "καταξιωσον ημας"
, which does not
mean "make us worthy", but rather, "deem us worthy"
, in other words, "count us as though we were worthy even though we are not."
In Orthodoxy, sins are spiritual illness requiring treatment. Untreated, all and any of these spiritual illnesses will lead to spiritual death. The only sense in which Orthodoxy understands sins to be "less serious" is in the sense that they are illnesses which are easier to treat
. But left untreated, they will lead to spiritual death as certainly as the "most serious" sin will.
does the Orthodox Church teach that both are as serious as the other
If you don't believe me, then there's one way to find out. Go out and do precisely what you described tonight. Harbour anger and hatred for your neighbour and call him a jerk under your breath, and adamantly refuse to repent of it, even on your deathbed, and lets see what happens on Judgement Day.