In recent years, this statement, “I’m only human”, has become one of my biggest pet peeves.
"I can't stand him."
"I drank too much."
"Maybe I glanced a little too long."
"I laughed, and I shouldn't have."
"I want my "neighbour's" house... spouse... car..."
"Why is he successful, he's such a ..."
"I work hard, I deserve more."
"I didn't stop. I was in a hurry."
"It's not fair."
....I'm not perfect. I'm only human.
I started to wonder why this annoys me so much. Maybe because we all feel it from time to time. I catch myself saying it too. Perhaps because it trivializes, or somehow justifies what I know isn't quite right in myself.
I know I'm human. It's the humanity in me that's sinful. I don't want to think of myself as sinful, so I try to justify my feelings, my behaviour by saying it's natural - it's human. I'm only human.
Paul does a really good job explaining this tendency in Romans 7. I (Paul) do what I don't want to do, and what I want to do, I don't do. Paul admits that it's the sin living in him that does it. Evil can cover us like a dark cloud blocking out the light. We used to hear, "The devil made me do it." Now, it's humanity. It's being human.
Yes, I’m human. But am I, are we, only human?
Let's make mankind in our image, after our likeness. - Genesis 1:26. At humanity's inception, we were made in the image and likeness of God - the Trinity. That continues through in our DNA. We were designed, each of us, to have a piece of God within us. Their character is in us: love, goodness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding.
Jesus is the perfect example of Divine humanity. Our humanity can't touch it. Anything less than Christ's perfect humanity is sin. "Sin" seems to have become one of those canceled words in our culture. We don't like to use that word. After all, I haven't broken the really big rules, right?! I know that I don't like to think of myself as sinful, but I'll say I'm not perfect, and that's essentially the same thing. But sin it is - my imperfection.
When Jesus left this earth, having given us a perfect example of humanity, he didn't just leave us to wallow in our inability to meet his standard. Before he left, Jesus promised that he would send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit to live within us. Holy Spirit teaches us what is true (John 13:6). He will help us to understand and remember God's word (John 14:26). He will guide us (Mark 1:12, Luke 2:27). So not only have we been made in the image of God, we now have his Spirit living within us.
What else does the Spirit do? Just by being in us, his presence bears fruit in us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control abound in us as we give way to his control. He also gives special gifts - super powers of a sort - to lead, to teach, to give, to show mercy among other things.
How do we get these super powers and bear this fruit? You just need to acknowledge that you are sinful and are unable to get into the presence of God on your own, then let God have control of your life.
Looking at my humanity from this perspective has given me a hard insight to who I am. At least, who I partly am. I need to recognize and acknowledge my humanity - my sinful nature - if I'm ever going to allow my divine nature to break through. So why, then, do I keep circling back to being only human? Why am I not letting my humanity go and holding tight to the divine nature within me? Just ask Paul. I do what I don't want to do, and what I want to do, I don't do.
Next time I say, "I'm only human", I'm going to pinch myself and remind myself that I'm not only human. I have a divine nature, too. I need to let it out more. But I also have to recognize that my sinful humanity does exist and that it gets out too often. I can't trivialize it.
If you haven't acknowledged your human nature for what it is, perhaps my musings will challenge you to think about it. I encourage you to ask God for understanding of who you are: divine and human. My prayer is that he will touch your heart and you will come to know Jesus.
Let me know how it goes.