A few years ago, my colleagues and I were working on a television project—a Orthodox talk show. In the studio, 12 young hosts, all Orthodox believers, gathered. Guests, still searching for Orthodoxy, joined them for discussions on what it meant to live by faith.
Our task seemed simple: to convey the dangers of sin and passions and emphasize the sole salvation—the Gospel path. It should have been straightforward. We were presenting the truth, after all. The truth was on our side. However, the audience found our opponents more relatable.
What was going on? We scratched our heads, wondering why the Christian commandments we tried to convey didn't resonate. It wasn't until we grasped the root of the problem that everything became clear.
As the writer and, at that time, a neophyte, I incorporated arguments from books justifying the harmfulness of certain passions into the script. I'd open books and jot down every argument presented by faith apologists, Holy Fathers, scholars, and contemporary priests.
I crammed all the findings into the script, convinced that we would defend the truth. But the opponents sounded more sincere:
"You say we should give our last to those who ask? I won't give my fur coat to a beggar in the cold. I don't like beggars at all," outspoken Lena would say.
"And which one of you, holier-than-thou types, would give? You're like an elite club in the church. I don't go to church, and I don't claim to be elitist!" she argued. What could we say?
"We're not an elite club! We're sinners!"
This argument seemed utterly absurd to unbelievers. Why talk about lofty ideals if you're not living up to them?
The pivotal word turned out to be "ourselves."
People started listening to us only when we articulated arguments not found in books—arguments from people with high spiritual flights, expressed genuinely. Arguments born from the soul.
Our hosts would take the red chair in the center of the studio and share stories from their lives, stories that brought tears.
For instance, Jen's story:
"A beggar regularly visited our home," she recounted. "Mom would give him food. It seemed like he just didn't want to work. I scolded my mom for feeding him. On one occasion, I exploded and forbade my mom from giving him food and chased him away. Later, I went to find him at the train station, where he usually sat, but he was gone. I asked around and learned he had been killed in a fight the day before.
Tears streamed down Jen's face.
"I chased away a person yesterday! And today, when I went to apologize, he was already dead, do you understand?!"
This taught me something. The best sermon is silent following Christ. Preaching through actions. And if we're blessed to speak with words, knock on other hearts with the pulse of our own hearts. Do you understand? Not mind to mind but heart to heart. Bearing witness through life, sharing our painful or joyful experiences.
Original article: https://radiovera.ru/tolko-serdce-slyshno