Is removing one’s negative characteristics different from being angelic and kind?

Bwjv1HfNope! But I once had someone respond to me on the Internet by saying they would rather do good in the world, than spending time removing personally negative character traits—as though the two functions had nothing to do with each other.

I assume this person was Swedenborgian and was representative of the direction that many followers of Swedenborg’s theology are now taking these days. This trajectory comes from reading Swedenborg’s many comments about the importance of love, charity and usefulness, while skipping over other details.

Unfortunately, while being kind and loving towards others does indeed help others, it does very little for the charitable individual and their soul—unless they are removing (purifying) their inner evils at the same time.

You see a bad person can be outwardly as kind and helpful as any good person. However, the former is inwardly motivated by egoism while the latter is motivated by innocence.

Heaven is not just a state of heart and mind that promotes good actions, but a state that promotes good actions through innocence. True innocence can only be obtained by discovering—and acknowledging—one’s (often hidden) negative intentions and resisting them with the Lord God’s help.

This activity cleanses one’s deeds in a way that makes them more and more angelic. Otherwise, egoism (self-love) will creep into everything a person does.

So it is not a matter of performing one function over the other—regeneration and good deeds go hand in hand!

http://www.provinggod.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to Is removing one’s negative characteristics different from being angelic and kind?

  1. coachdad1979 says:

    Random, but maybe something to ponder: Darkness doesn’t exist. Darkness is simply the absence of light. In the same way, is it possible that evil doesn’t exist but is rather just the absence of goodness?

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear sir,

      Yes, evil is a contingency just as darkness is. However, people can choose to live in the absence of light and delude themselves.

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

  2. Walt says:

    Edward, I am reading your book “Proving God” for the second time and love it. I also enjoy receiving these emails from you. Concerning this email I have a question about part of what is stated here: “Heaven is not just a state of heart and mind that promotes good actions, but a state that promotes good actions through innocence. True innocence can only be obtained by discovering—and acknowledging—one’s (often hidden) negative intentions and resisting them with the Lord God’s help.

    “This activity cleanses one’s deeds in a way that makes them more and more angelic. Otherwise, egoism (self-love) will creep into everything a person does.

    So it is not a matter of performing one function over the other—regeneration and good deeds go hand in hand!”

    I would like to understand this much better and was hoping you could give me some additional information to help me understand better or direct me to additional information you have either written or Swedenborg wrote that would help me.

    Thanks,
    Walt

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Walt,

      Thanks for communicating your interest in this most important topic. If you read Swedenborg’s “True Christianity” and the first several chapters of Vol. 2, you will get much valuable information concerning the path towards genuine charity. Let me know what you discover!

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

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