Getting Ahead: ‘The Beast within’

By John G. Pfeifer - Religion Columnist

As a teen in the 60s we had a description for our so-called more adventurous friends; “He’s an animal.”

We didn’t realize how accurate that description might be. Animals in the wild must kill or be killed. The food chain and the balance of nature are both accomplished through this reality. When a carnivorous animal is hungry, they kill and eat. They do not have a conscious about what they are doing. They need to eat and there is no thinking about the welfare of the animal they are about to kill. They kill and eat, then lick their chops in contentment.

That really does not sound like any of my friends that we called animals. They weren’t killing people; they were just self-centered and didn’t really care about how their actions affected anyone else. That’s not really acting like an animal is it?

I was taught in elementary school that the difference between man and animal is the ability to reason. An animal will only do what his survival instincts dictate. We humans, on the other hand, have the ability to see the situation at hand, weigh the outcome of our choices, and then make the choice to do the right thing. That reasoning is what gives us the ability to defeat the beast that is within every one of us from birth.

My “animal” friends made no attempt to control their actions, therefore the beast within them rule and they truly acted like an animal. If it was something they wanted to do, they did it. When they did anything they felt like doing they were feeding the beast within and making those animal instincts stronger. Most of us wouldn’t act like that would we?

Someone that acts like that is weighing every situation by how it benefits them. No reasoning is needed when our life is dictated only by how it benefits us. There must be more than one side of an issue in order to give it over to reasoning. Are all of us guilty from time to time of feeding the beast within? Are we concerned about how our decision might affect those around us, or is it only about how it affects us? When we continue to think more of ourselves than others, will the beast within become strong enough to eventually destroy us?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Library for Bible Study at 9:30 and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30. Come at 7 p.m. and be part of our Wednesday night Bible Study and Children’s Ministry on the third floor above Trends at 120 W. Court St. in Washington Court House.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist