A tyrant is defined as one who uses authority cruelly and unjustly.
Being indifferent to the tyrannies of mundane commerce, we come to those tyrannies which plague our hearts and spirits. What are the tyrants in my life? What offers cruel and unjust authority over my relationship with You?
One is the vainglory John Climacus talks so eloquently about in the 23rd step of his “ladder.” I am tyrannized by my own desire to be pleased with myself. What is cruel and unjust in this is the pride it generates which keeps me at a distance from You. I would have others feel as I do so I promulgate myself in talk and writing. But if I keep silent and write only in private so as not to draw attention to myself, I am vainglorious over my prudence. Each time I am defeated because each time only how I feel counts. My “self” tyrannizes me.
Another tyrant is time. The clock rules the measures with which I blend life in the world with life in the spirit. A time for this and a time for that generates a vainglorious sense of my organizational skills. Even as I sit and write to You now, unless it is a time when I am wholeheartedly convinced that what comes through this pen is from You and not from me, I am tyrannized by vainglory over my ability to express myself. To nurture the inkling that someday, when I’m gone, someone might read this and benefit from it, - all vainglory. How does one combat this tyrant?
I am tyrannized too by the irrelevant distractions of doing rather that being and by a lack of trust in anyone but myself. How do I fight this?
Then there is the tyranny of guilt over allowing the reign over my life of all the other tyrannies I’ve mentioned.How do you get rid of that?
If a king, president, governor or mayor was a tyrant under whom we lived we might choose to submit to him, to subvert him, or to flee. With the tyrants of my inner life the choices are much the same except for one thing: I have willingly let them in. Therefore the first question might be: Do I want to get rid of them? To submit to them without indifference is to join myself to them, so, submission is not a viable defense. Yet, like the Jews under the Romans, there might exist a passive submission in no way connoting approval, which is actually underpinned by an inner rejection.
To subvert these tyrants is to take the active approach – to attack! It is a more “labor-intense” approach. It calls for cunning, dedication, great patience and Your Spirit.
To flee from them means we must have someplace to go where they cannot touch us. That place is You and the feeling of vainglory in making that choice be damned because that choice really comes from You not from me. So, if I place all the tyrants of my vainglory under You, in Your hands, their powers are inconsequential.