|The King And The Mirror of Truth|
THE KING AND THE MIRROR OF TRUTH
Once there was an ancient kingdom in a far distant land. The king in this land wanted to rule well for he heard of the great kings of old who ruled with such wisdom that they were remembered as a golden age. This king considered his efforts to rule and was discouraged by his own weakness. He had a violent temper that proved to be the undoing of any good he wanted to do. He often made rash decision on impulse that he and many others later regretted. He would interrupt people and over rule their advice even when it was good advice. His pride prevented him from seeing his weaknesses, and his stubbornness would not allow him admit to any mistakes.
One evening as the sun set behind the blue hills he stood on the balcony of his chamber looking over the land. Beside him stood his counselor Melchizedek in his mystical robes. The day had been a bad one, since the King had many fits of temper and impatience. He turned to his counselor and sighed. "I see to be a better king I must become a better man, but how?"
The king's adviser was one of those mystic Magi who understood the mysteries of the universe the ways of stars and the hearts of man. "Your Majesty I have something that will help. But it requires the faithfulness on your part to bring about the power of change."
"I am a warrior!" The kings temper flew hot. "I have slain foes in battle. I am strong of arm and back. I can ride a wild horse and use lance and shield. I can perform any task of faithfulness your charms require."
"It is a simple task, Majesty, a child can do it."
"Then let's be about it." The kings anger seethed with impatience. "Give me your token charm."
The Magi had been looking for this opportunity, and was ready; he brought a small mirror from the pocket of his robe. It's dull black frame and handle seemed ordinary the glass was warped and the silver slightly tarnished.
"What? No magic gemstone? No treasure from afar? Just an old beaten mirror?" The king sneered. "Melchizedek, your surprise me."
"Do not think lowly of this common mirror." Melchizedek replied softly. "Look upon your reflection in this blessed mirror and when you ponder your reflection you will see your true self. This knowledge will teach you how you may change to be a better man and wiser king.
"Thank you, Melchizedek." The King said. "I will begin this discipline of looking into the mirror at dawn."
These words were overheard by his sister, Princess Mave. The court, like any other, was full of intrigue by those rivals who wanted to take the throne in some way. Princess Mave was in the pay of an enemy of the kingdom. She herself was a jealous woman who wanted to grab power. She slipped away like a shadow to report to the king's enemies about the blessed mirror.
The next morning the king began his day by gazing upon his image in the mirror. At first nothing seemed to happen. He grew impatient. "This is nonsense" he said.
Melchizedek encouraged him to persevere. "A few moments Majesty, look and see what you may and be open to the truth."
After long minutes of silence the king saw his reflection as if for the very first time. It was repulsive. His brow had deep furrows dug in by scowls and rages. His jaw looked locked from gritting his teeth in resentment. In his mind he saw his most recent act of rage and anger. He saw the hurt his anger caused, he saw the feelings that were injured. "Oh." he sighed. "Oh." He moaned. Looking again his reflection prompted his memory of the many times his temper hurt himself and others. "Oh." He wept. "I must stop this behavior, I must change. And change he did. He began that day to restrain his temper. It was immediately noticed by the members of court. They expected him to yell and pound his fist when bad news came in of a bridge on the kings highway that had collapsed. Instead he ordered an investigation and aid for those who were inconvenienced by it. People marveled, "Is this the king?"
"You must distract him from looking into it." The King's enemies told Princess Mave. "When he picks up the mirror find some crisis to draw him away, or some emergency or some amusement. If we keep him from seeing his faults he will not be inspired to correct them and the kingdom will pay for it. Then we can encourage an uprising and take the throne from him."
The next morning as the king took up the mirror there was a knock at the door. "Enter."
Princess Mave came in. "Your majesty, you must come at once! The levies are leaking and may flood the farms."
He jumped up. "What? Where are the engineers have them brought to me at once!" The king rushed from his chambers yelling orders for laborers to attend to the levies and ordering the arrest of the architect. All the day the princess kept thrusting upon him business of the kingdom, so the day ended without a glance in the blessed mirror.
The next morning the King was about to pick up the mirror and there was a knock at his chamber. The door was open and Princess Mave came in. "Your majesty the plans for the new armor for the solders must be seen by you and given to the metal smith this morning if we are to to be able to protect the kingdom."
"Will it not wait?" He replied impatiently.
"Alas, no, Your Majesty. The coals are red hot now and all is ready to start on the new armor."
"Very well." So he left the room without looking at the mirror.
That night after a day spent in arguments with solders, and tradesmen, and angry letters to ambassadors he retired to his room. "I must remember to gaze upon the blessed mirror tomorrow."
A pounding woke the King from his sleep. "What is it? Oh, just come in!" he yelled from his bed.
Princess Mave entered. "Sorry to interrupt the King from his rest," she stammered. "But there is sickness in the eastern towns. Possibly a plague is breaking out. Clearly steps must be taken immediately to prevent mass death from spreading over the kingdom."
The king jumped out of bed, cursing, and began to issue orders and commands. "Bring the Surgeon General, no arrest the Surgeon General, he should have foreseen this." Then he began to make rash decisions. "Burn the houses, and kill the contaminated livestock, and quarantine the citizens! We must stop this immediately!" Mave was pleased to see his rage and foolish commands. She continued to feed his anger through out the day.
It went on each morning and after a few weeks the king forgot all about the mirror. It sat dusty on the table in his room. A month later Princess Mave slipped into his rooms and put the mirror in the bottom of a trunk. The king never looked again in its reflection. He never changed from the bad king to the good king. The citizens he loved were often hurt by him and he never became the beloved king he might have been.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what is says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard - he will be blessed in his doing." James 1: 22- 25