The clich? goes that a rose by any other name is still a rose. I often wonder if I have the courage to follow through on those words and call anything for what it is. John described one individual he saw in his vision. “The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous.” (Revelation 13.5) Bluntly put, if the description fit am I willing to see myself as a “Beast”? If I see the same in others will I view them as a “Beast”? If either situation exists what am I going to do about it?
Without being too harsh let me make the following observations. Each of us is and can be a “beast”. We have our moments of being of being self centered, arrogant, and boastful. We like to see ourselves as being the “best” and in that process often take on many of the same attributes that John gives to the Beast. If this seems unrealistic, then pose the following questions to yourself in the quiet moments just before you sleep.
1. What do I think, really think, of the self centric actions of those around me?
2. When I think of politicians, lawyers, and salespersons of any kind, why do I think of them a lying, self gratifying cheats?
3. If I look at those around me consumed by fear, anxieties, or a lack of confidence, what things do they usually focus on?
4. Looking at the answers above, how many can I find playing out in my own life? Am I merely an echo?
When I go through this process I rarely find myself getting angry or even frustrated at those around me. The best description for how I feel is sadness, tiredness, and compassionate. My conclusion is that “there go I”.
The only answer that I can find for those around me and myself is active and unlimited compassion. Unless I am willing to be merciful, accepting even when I know the problem is going to repeat itself, and provide clean slates, how can I forgive myself as God does?