Too Much of a Good Thing

Too Much of a Good Thing

The seeker in the Pergamos stage receives a criticism:

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. “ Rev 2:14

Some of those who followed the doctrine of Balaam followed false gods, such as Baal, and committed some crimes that would be repulsive to the most open-minded in today’s society. Perhaps the worst thing they did was to sacrifice the lives of children by burning them to death on an alter of a false God. This was supposed to bring good crops, prosperity and fertility.

Balaam was an interesting character. He was viewed as a true prophet in Israel; he recognized the voice of God and when he taught or prophesied by that voice, he was very accurate and said things to benefit Israel. According to this verse he actually taught an enemy of Israel, Balac, how to seduce Israel and thus weaken them.

It has been said in the past that evil is merely a misuse of good. The seeker at this point in his progression has learned many things that are considered good, such as the virtues of tolerance, inclusiveness, compromise and acceptance. Now he must learn that all virtues taken too far become evil.

Let us take Hitler, for example. Now, most of would agree that having a beautiful, healthy body is a virtue, but this tyrant took this to an extreme. He determined which race and body type was the optimum and sought to eliminate all those who may interfere with this becoming a reality for all.

Likewise, a misuse of other virtues can turn a result from good to evil. A little tolerance is good, but too much can destroy the structures of society that insure freedom and stability.

The right amount of inclusiveness is a godsend, but when taken too far with no judgment, one is inviting the planting of destructive seeds that can destroy all good.

Compromise and acceptance can be saving principles, but, again, taken too far, can destroy all defense from evil and cause the life involved to become like unto that which he most despises.

Even though Balaam recognized the Voice, and never denied it, he, at times, did not check with that Voice and taught with the wisdom of his lower nature. He was over-tolerant of the enemies of Israel and even gave them advice that could hurt his own people. He saw the virtues of tolerance and took them too far, which resulted in the threat of destruction for his own people.

The aspiring disciple in this third stage on the path encounters the problems of the doctrine of Balaam. He sees that in the past he was too separative, rigid and exclusive, and feels that now he is enlightened, he will be much more inclusive and accepting of those different than he. If such a seeker were living in today’s society, he would embrace such thoughts as “it takes a village,” diversity, equal rights, fairness, sensitivity, political correctness and others. He would support illegal immigration, giving legal rights to detainees, and compromising with and befriending tyrants and enemies. He would be against hate crimes, hate speech, corporate greed, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, war, materialism and many other apparent evils.

These directions are good if done with judgment and the right amount of focus, but become destructive and restrictive if gone too far. The seeker at the Pergamos stage goes too far and unwittingly is willing to unnecessarily restrict freedom and endanger his brethren through his misplaced and excessive idealism.

He hears the Inner Voice, does not deny it, but, like the prophet Balaam, feels he knows what is right in areas beyond that which the Voice has told him. If he feels a thing should be right, he assumes he is in harmony with his soul; but like Balaam, he could be entirely incorrect.

The lesson the disciple must learn at this point is what feels right to the emotional self is often much more harmful than it is helpful. He makes the mistake of thinking that if a little of something is good, then a lot is better. He must learn the principle of judgment and realize that a little salt, for instance, can add zesty flavor, but if one were to consume enough of it he would die.

Similarly, the right amount of inclusiveness is good, but inclusiveness with no limits or discernment involved can be a disaster.

Let us take immigration as an example. A reasonable amount of immigration to any country is stimulating and increases resources and helps the economy. But if the gates are opened without limits, the country could be overwhelmed with more people than can be assimilated including many criminals and others antagonistic to the people’s way of life.

The verse continues correcting the disciple, telling him he is making the mistake of eating “things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

In Old Testament times it was a grave sin for an Israelite to eat anything sacrificed to idols. The reason was that the sacrifice of any animal was to be dedicated to Jehovah, and to have anything to do with a sacrifice to any other god was treasonous.

So, what meaning does this have for the aspiring disciple of this age where we do not sacrifice animals to any type of god?

Meat or food can apply to levels beyond the physical plane. We feed our non-physical nature with thoughts, teachings and beliefs. If we, therefore, consume teachings that lead us away from the voice of the true God Within, and swallow without thinking the pronouncements of authorities without, we are eating “things sacrificed unto idols.”

The second problem was the committing of fornication. Fornication among Israelites went beyond anything to do with sex. God was called their husband and Israel was married to Him. Even in the New Testament, Christ is the bridegroom who marries the church. It was deemed to be fornication when an Israelite took his allegiance away from the true God and placed his heart on the teachings of a false god.

Even so, the seeker today commits fornication when he disregards the true Inner Voice within and puts his faith in his outer feelings and outer authorities.

In so doing, the seeker takes some of the messages from the Inner Voice and attempts to be over-inclusive and mix in unproven teachings of the outer voices. He then finds himself giving more energy to the false than the true.

With no limits on inclusiveness, the life of a country, organization or individual can be thrown into chaos, making the pursuit of happiness difficult.

In this stage the seeker finds that embracing his ideals without judgment or limits doesn’t seem to work for him, and finally, after much frustration, he checks with the Inner Voice and hears “I have a few things against thee… These Balaam tactics do not work – everything you feel to be right is not right. You must balance your fallible feelings with common sense from the mind and finally verification from the Christ within.”

When the seeker then listens to these instructions, he finds he does not have to give up his ideals, but must make adjustments and focus his intentions in such a way that practical and harmless results will be achieved.

“So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Rev 2:15

As noted earlier, the doctrine of the Nicolaitans refers to the embracing of outward authority to govern and guide the lives of the people.

The seeker’s attempt to include the false teachings with the true lead him to place too much weight on the outer voices and authority of the modern day Nicolaitans.

“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Rev 2:16

The seeker must reflect and go back to the Inner Voice and rely on it over the outer voices. If he does not, he will find himself, his beliefs and actions to be counter to the God Within, and will find the Inner Voice is fighting against all that he has accepted. The sword of the mouth of the Christ Within will fight against his illusions and eventually prevail. How long it will take depends on how soon the seeker is willing to listen and apply.

Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them. Franklin P. Adams

Jan 14, 2007

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