When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me repeatedly “don’t act ugly, it’s not becoming.” That mandate might seem trite to some or even inhibiting, but ultimately it became part of my own moral compass — an internal warning that measured whenever I was steering off-course. Like that time when I slipped and fell onstage — at the age of four and decided that the best response would be to stick out my tongue at those who giggled. There my mother was — in the audience, reminding me that grace and poise is the most effective response to even the most embarrassing predicament. Life’s most vexing situations are lessons in how to be dignified enough to get up, dust off, and move forward. No one empathizes with a sore loser or an indignant tripper — especially one who acts ugly.
Acting ugly isn’t just something that we do in the physical, it is a state of consciousness that is devoid of love and compassion for others, as well as for ourselves. When people acted ugly during the recent healthcare reform protests — by taunting and humiliating a man sitting on the ground with a sign that says he has Parkinson’s disease, they either lost their connection to Spirit or never had one in the first place. When protesters resorted to racial epithets, anti-gay slurs and spitting — not to mention brick-throwing and death threats, they resorted to violence that is not merely punishable by law but is indicative of inner turmoil and confusion.
The Book of Revelation calls our inner turmoil and confusion “worshipping the beast.” No one could enter the temple — attain true inner mastery and come into oneness with God — as long as they acted ugly. (15:8) Inner mastery takes place when our minds and hearts are clean and in one accord with Love. Without self-mastery, we suffer the ill effects of our own hatred. Revelation says that an “angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image” (16:2). When we are hateful, our negative energy contaminates our own mind, body and soul.
Self-mastery is illustrated by the Congressmen who were assaulted because of their mission to provide better health care for millions of Americans. They didn’t press charges nor did they spit back. They simply said that they had suffered even more in the process of fighting for civil rights. They realized that acting ugly is not a sign of strength but of weakness. They knew that the real battle is staying focused on the legislative issues at hand. Anything besides the passage of this important piece of legislation would be a distraction. Acting ugly is simply beneath them.
What those who act ugly do is not merely as important as what we do in response. If we act ugly, we worship the beast too. Our actions reflect that we are out of alignment with the loving energy of Spirit. This struggle, this decision whether to act ugly or to be centered in the power of a love that blesses everyone is a battle that is fought in the consciousness of everyone — every single day.
Sometimes we wage this battle within our hearts. Sometimes we wage it in a public forum. Sometimes it even ends up televised for millions of viewers to see. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are battling against forces and principalities that are aspects of our own consciousness of greed, lack and limitation. But the Comforter reminds us to be alert, less we end up on national television — spitting and hurling insults in a desperate attempt to deny people health care. Revelation says, “Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed!” Blessed is he who takes a step back and looks at the big picture and remembers that we are our brothers’ keeper. We owe our neighbor the same love, the same compassion and the same respect that we ourselves expect.
God works through each and every one of us — regardless of politics, religion or race. But if we are acting ugly, we miss the divine opportunity to do good and block the flow of the blessings that we will receive in doing it. When we are bitter, hateful, and resentful, we are never productive. Our ability to move forward with success is directly proportionate to the love that we have within.
God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies, right in the midst of turmoil and strife. It’s only when we are acting ugly that we fail to see the abundance and the infinite opportunity that the universe makes available to us. God’s good is not exhaustible. As the rap singer Common sings, “Common good is forever. God’s memory is forever.” Our good is forever, as long as we don’t block it — by acting ugly. When we stand up with love, respect and decency for all humanity — regardless of race, wealth or politics — we stand in the victory of God expressing through us. It is only through this transcendent spirit of generosity that the mountains will move, the sun will stand still, the waters will part, and the walls — oh the walls, will come tumbling down.
Reverend Cecilia Loving
Pastor, SPIRITMUV (www.spiritmuv.com )
(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )