Human Nature Revisited

The late Michael Jackson sang, “Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature?  Why, why, does he do it that way?” Human nature is sometimes used to excuse ourselves from being responsible for our actions or feelings. It is easy to make ourselves victims of fate. When practicing prejudice, stereotyping or scapegoating, we may say, “These are just parts of human nature,” to disqualify ourselves from the consequences. Or, we could quote 1970s comedian Flip Wilson and say, “The Devil made me do it.”

Blaming human nature is as old as the original sin. Adam blamed Eve, who then blamed the snake. God reciprocated in reverse order by doling out the consequences. God’s lesson is that we are responsible for our actions and thoughts.

When considering group identification/interaction, human nature is a nature of least resistance where the “mirror on the wall” principle of uniformity becomes the norm. We might think, “If someone favors me physically, then they must be like me and possess my values, norms, folkways and taboos.”   Therefore, we act in a way that keeps us safely within the confines of our comfort zones. When believers succumb to that same principal, they refuse the liberty of Christ and engage in mere tribalism with the associated bondage that operates through the rest of humanity and the animal kingdom, as well.

The very gospel itself was preached to those who were different, whether it was shared to every nation under heaven, as in what the apostles did at Pentecost in Acts, Chapter 2, or to the Ethiopian high on his chariot by the deacon Phillip in Acts, Chapter 8, or to Rome by way of Paul and the other Christian martyrs.

“My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?” Galatians 5:16-18 The Message (MSG)

Building a bridge together over the ethnic divide will take effort. It is not easy and it is most certainly not human nature. Appreciating someone that is different is not natural; valuing someone that does not share like values is not natural; and investing in someone that is divested of similar cultural interest is not natural. But if practiced enough, it can become our nature.

Kevin Robinson, Executive Director of Accord1

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  1. […] why, tell ‘em that it’s human nature?” can no longer be an excuse. Groups can accomplish positive changes when variety is merged with […]

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