What vice do you struggle with most? Greed? Sloth? Pride? What if you could overcome that vice and put the battle behind you?
Patrick Madrid, host of The Patrick Madrid Show on Relevant Radio, offered some advice to a caller who expressed his struggle with anger while engaging in conversations with those who mock or disrespect his beliefs. The key, he said, is to grow in virtue.
“Your default position is typically to do the easy thing or the wrong thing. So let’s say that the sin or the vice you’re trying to eradicate is wrath … the way to overcome that is to cultivate the opposing virtue. And that would be meekness, mildness, humility,” explained Patrick.
“So what happens is, when you cultivate the opposing virtue, you are doing a couple things. Number one is you are working some muscles you’re not used to working. And you’re going to be a little bit sore for a while because it’s not your default to be humble or to be meek, etc. But the more you do it, the more you not only eradicate the vice itself—it’s like spraying spiritual Roundup on it, it will wither and die after a while—but you’re also building up this habit. So that in time what you do is you basically rewire your soul so that your default position is the virtuous thing. And then when you’re in these situations, more and more through second nature you just sort of default to this virtuous habit.”
It’s a struggle that we all face. Patrick admits that he’s not a paragon for cultivating virtue, but this is the way that he, and all of us, can work on growing in virtuous habits. If you desire to be more patient, exercise and practice responding in a patient manner when you are put into situations that would normally make you impatient or annoyed.
“If somebody insults you, don’t insult them back. If somebody interrupts you, don’t get steamed. You might feel steamed—that’s the part about cultivating virtue because at first it’s not going to be comfortable, it won’t be easy. But over time you begin to build up that muscle memory and then you’ll find yourself being more patient,” said Patrick.
This approach works for whatever vice you are working to eradicate. Prideful? Cultivate humility. Lustful? Practice chastity. Gluttonous? Grow in self-restraint. This isn’t a quick fix and will take time, effort, and perseverance. When you take the time to cultivate virtue, imagine how much closer you could come to who you are called to be!
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays at 9am-noon ET / 6-9am PT only on Relevant Radio®.