Building A Better Life: Being Human

I have lived 24 years as a human being. The hardest part of being a human being, is being just that….. Human. I have found my ways to build walls. I have found ways to keep people out of my life. I have found ways to hate other human beings. I have spent far to much time blaming and accusing others. I have spent far to much time shaming myself. I have taken the words of Luther to heart that I should sin and sin boldly. All of this has been used to escape the very thing that I am…… A Human Being.

The first two people to walk the earth were Adam and Eve (I hope there is a someone out there that says Adam and Lillith… High Five). If someone were to subscribe to the doctrine of Original Sin (which most do), then the sin of Adam and Eve was eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Something about their knowledge was not enough. They were not content with themselves, they wanted to be God. They couldn’t handle their knowledge, they needed the knowledge of God. We do this all the time. When we judge, accuse and blame ourselves and others, we are participating in a dehumanization of each other. We assume the role of God, or we want to, and we do the very thing to resist what we are…. Human.

To be human is to be broken. This is the wages of sin, death. This is the pain we feel. This is the shame we feel. This is the nagging guilt, the moments of deep loneliness, the feelings of disconnection. This is why all men must apologize to their pregnant wives for all of the dumb things they do. This is why women should apologize to us for the moments when we are trapped with kidney stones. Being a human is filled with immense pain, sorrow and disconnection.

The hope is that we learn to not want to be God and strive to be ourselves. When we are human beings and seek God. When we allow ourselves to receive the pain, sorrow and disconnection and we are vulnerable in our humanity, it actually restores the very thing we are. This is the hope, that we do not suffer like those who have no hope. We learn to place God in his rightful throne and we learn to submit ourselves in fellowship with him. By restoring the right relationships, we can begin to experience the glory of what is. The glory of God, the glory of ourselves and the glory of others. By being human, we can begin to have eyes to see and ears to hear. The way we think, the way we feel, the way we live is transformed. By learning to love our humanity, we can begin to love that of others, even our enemies. We begin to pity them, rather than hate them. This is the way of Jesus that we see through out the Gospels. it’s the way of love, the way of weakness that leads us to a cross. The cross where Jesus did not take equality of God as his advantage but became human. This is the spiritual journey, learning to live, love and share our humanity. This is what Jesus came to do.

“For human beings, the most daunting challenge is to become fully human. For to become fully human is to become fully divine.” – Thomas Keating

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9 thoughts on “Building A Better Life: Being Human

  1. Jacqui says:

    Usually I hang right there with you, but this one I’m going to have to disagree with. Humanness is not synonymous with brokenness. Adam and Eve were created as human before the fall. Their hearts were whole. Brokenness came later.
    I agree with you in the sense that we have to be willing to accept (maybe even embrace?) our brokenness as part of our current condition, but it is not the condition in which we should desire to stay and live.
    Jesus came to set us free from our brokenness and restore us to the fullness of how we were created to be – in full, perfect communion with God.
    Desiring to be freed of our brokenness is not a desire to BE God, it’s a desire to be WITH God.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Jacqui,
      good points. I agree with you. I believe this is to be held in light of a paradox. There is part of me who is full of glory (God in me) and there is part of me who is full of destruction (me in me). I will always choose darkness, while God in me always chooses light.

      • Jacqui says:

        Mike,
        I’m still not sure. I don’t think the you in you is innately set against God. The you in you is God. You were created in his image. (Gen 1:27) Your heart, at its core, is good. (Gen 1:31) It’s out of the pieces of our hearts that have become broken that we sin. So frequently, Jesus talks about having come to heal and restore. But both words imply that there has already been a wholeness and a rightness. You cannot “restore” something into something it never was to begin with.
        I struggled for a long time to understand where the “good news” in Christianity was – even as a believer. I was told Jesus “set me free,” but free from what? My sin? Because I was still very much fighting that. I just felt guiltier about it now. Where is the good news in that?
        The Good News is that Jesus, if we will let him, heals the brokenness of our hearts that compels us to sin so that we’re not struggling against it every day. The Christian walk is not daily beating our hearts into submission. There is no goodness in that. The Christian walk is daily allowing Jesus in to show us our brokenness and to heal it, and our hearts, in deepest gratitude, will have no choice but to joyously submit to the awesome power, grace, love and mercy we’ve experienced. (Heb 7:18-19)

      • Mike Friesen says:

        Jacqui,
        I actually agree with you 100 percent. The you in you is God. Its the true-self. Which is why the sin of the false-self, will always choose to be separate from God.Think of sin as a disease, the loss of shalom, or however. The moment man chooses that false-self, he loses himself. But, when he chooses peace, or restoration, he finds himself. He finds God within. I think yesterday’s blog was a bit of a writers disaster. Forgive me for this.

  2. Michael J. Teston says:

    And I too normally hang with you my friend. But I too will disagree. We live and practice an almost (and I say this with care) “bi-polar” faith. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. The first “man” and the first “woman,” in Hebrew “ish and ishha,” gotta love the poetry of it and the sweet sound of that were utterly “human.” We were never intended to be anything BUT human. Our problem is not our humanity it is sin, the willful decision to live our lives outside the will, purpose, and relationship with our Creator. When we make those free will decisions exist outside of those limits, then we become something less than human, we become inhuman, something less than humane to ourselves and to each other grieving the One created us (human) in the Divine Image. I come back to confusing people. The faith tradition I operate in stresses as strongly the sanctifying grace of the work of redemption as strongly as the justifying grace of the work of redemption. Plugged in to that we become the very “human” beings we were intended. I think it crucial to make such amazing grace known because folk don’t know whether they should continue to use those age old excuses, 1) I’m only human and 2) No one’s perfect. It’s time to drawn upon and live in the GRACE in which we stand. I have encountered beautiful human beings who got and continue to get being human right. Blessings to both of you guys.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Thanks Michael,
      at no point in your response did I ever disagree with you. I think that was the point of living in right relationship. God is God, I am I. When I choose God, I actually choose myself. When I solely choose myself, I choose separateness (from God and myself).

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