Ever used the excuse “I’m only human after all?” Or been on the receiving end of such a claim? It captures the fallible nature of human beings. Our ability to do wrong, to choose wrongly, to be wrong. And it’s real. No doubt about it.
But it also suggests that we cannot do anything about it. Hurting others. Failing to take responsibility. Certainly we make mistakes. Sometimes we are ignorant or blind to truth. Sometimes we are weak. Sometimes we are lazy. Sometimes we go against our better nature and choose the worse.M. Scott Peck captures this thought perfectly in reflecting on the claim of bad behavior being “natural:”
“Calling it natural does not mean it is essential or beneficial or unchangeable behavior. It is also natural to defecate in our pants and never brush our teeth. Yet we teach ourselves to do the unnatural until the unnatural itself becomes second nature. Indeed, all self-discipline might be defined as teaching ourselves to do the unnatural.”
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled (Touchstone, 1998)
Human beings are made by God to reflect that better nature. To do what seems unnatural but is really at the heart of our human nature as intended by our Creator.
David writes about the wonder of being human in Psalm 8 —
[W]hat are human beings
that you think about them;
what are human beings
that you pay attention to them?
You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
crowning them with glory and grandeur. (Psalm 8:4-5 CEB)
We have been made for something glorious, something awe-inspiring, something grand. We are not “only” human – we are gloriously, marvelously, grandly human. What we fail to do is claim the heritage of our birth and the possibility of reclaiming it by the power and the grace of God.
Today I hope you will be only human… what more could we be?