The Nature of Man…

Since this is my 300th post to this blog and as I am coming off a rather long hiatus, I thought I would handle an impossible topic and that is the nature of man.  I apologize in advance for this post’s length but describing the nature of man will take a few more than the five hundred words I try to limit my posts to. 🙂

The nature of man is to seek God –– Most of us are on this earth for seventy-some years and at least sometimes, and often many times, we have a deep spiritual urge to know where we came from and what it is we are supposed to do while we are here. Most of us believe that there is someone or something called God who brought us to life. What does this God want from us? Why did he give us existence? These questions have personally plagued me throughout my life but I am not alone in that regard. Seeking the meaning of life is built into the basic structure of us all.

The nature of man is self centered and self destructive— Some say that man’s self centered nature stem from the “survival of the fittest” attitude from our ancient past.  That is in the early days of man only the strongest survived; there was no place for looking out for others in that mode. As a history buff and someone who has seen man’s inhumanity to man it is obvious that the man is still a very self centered creature.  Jesus told us to love one another. That and to love God were the only two commandments in his new covenant that he brought to us. But as cited above the nature of man is contrary to Jesus’ command. The history of the world is, for the most part recorded in the histories of our wars. Just go to the history section of any modern library or bookstore and you will see that to be the fact.  We seem to define ourselves as to who we have killed; not who we have loved. Just look at the love affair with weapons of destruction among us, especially in the U.S. Our technology seems to advance first in our war machines and then migrate to other areas. We have become total experts in killing each other but total failures in loving each other.

The nature of man is to ignore the teaching of God ––  Many of us who were brought up to be Christians, have been taught that Christianity is a “do nothing” religion. God has done it all for us and absolutely nothing is expected of us but to believe in him. With this mentality we are at least indirectly trained to ignore the teachings of God beyond this one thought. We were taught that God views us as nothing but poor miserable sinners and expects nothing good from us. This “do-nothing” attitude is the reason that many outside of Christianity feel Christianity as a false religion. Hindus have a rather strict list of requirements that are deemed mandatory by their religion. Of course the same goes for Muslims. They, like their Jewish counterparts are even told what they are allowed to eat and how many times a day they are to pray.  With 80% of those in the world today believing that God wants us to do certain things and act certain ways it is hard for them to believe that a god who says nothing is required is not a false god.

Of course much of this “do nothing” mentality comes from a few of the letters of St. Paul not from Jesus himself who many times said just the opposite. In order to maintain this stream of logic it is necessary to ignore much, and I would even say most, of Jesus teachings.  Of course, those of us who look at “all ” the words of Jesus know that he intended those who called themselves his follower to do and act according to his words. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is definitely not a “do nothing ” proposition. How did so much of Christianity get this so wrong?  So many who call themselves Christians have latched onto a scant few pieces of Jesus’ words and thrown out the rest. This saddens me deeply. The most glaring example of this looking past the words of Jesus come from the “Great Commission” contained in Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to obey all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

There are so many who quickly cite verse 19 and then go on to ignore verse 20 where Jesus tells us to do what he commands of us. This selectively choosing the words of Jesus seems to be so prevalent in today’s churches I at times refrain from calling myself a Christian. Instead I am beginning to simply say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

The next time in a corresponding manner I will be tackling an even more impossible task and that is to try to understand the nature of God.

The forgotten words of the Great Commission

Of course all Christians know the Great Commission. As most remember it we are to go out into the world baptize them and tell them about Jesus and how he died for our sins. But what many seem to conveniently forget is the words just beyond that where Jesus says to tell them to do what he commands! Many seem to think that being a Christian is just taking an “alter call” and saying the “sinners prayer”. Jesus says there is more to it than that. He spent his three year ministry helping us to understand just what we are suppose to be doing while we are here on earth. And he expects us to “obey what I have commanded”

Here is the entire Great commission at least according to the NIV Bible: Matt 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Some say our presence on this earth is a probationary period to determine if, by our free will, we choose to be sheep or goats. By our actions it will be easy to tell the difference. Come Judgment Day, yes there will be a day where you are judged on how you lived your life, you will have to explain the Jesus why you ignored his words. Will it keep you out of heaven? I don’t know. As James said in his epistle faith without works is dead. Will a “dead faith” get you into heaven? Why take the change. Obey what Jesus commands! Or at least die trying…

Epilog: I had a surprising insight about judgment day recently. It seems that some Christian sects, some very large,believe that only non-Christians will be judged. They say that God has completely forgotten the sins of all Christians and therefore there is no judgment for them. I personally don’t buy that. Jesus, or Paul, never put that exception in any of their words! (Matt 7:1-2, Matt 12:36-37, Rom 14:10-12, 2Cor 5:10)