A VIEW FROM THE PEW: IT'S NOT EASY BEING HUMAN
An occasional blog by Robin Turpin*
September 10, 2023
Honestly, it isn’t easy being human. Last week, Pastor Sandy’s message focused on the difficulty human beings have in “letting go” – of anger, pain, guilt, worry – everything that makes our lives ineffectual. And how this is holding us back from becoming all God wants us to be.
Human beings try, we really, really try, to be good humans. We really do. But we fail a lot. Sometimes in little ways; sometimes in big ways. We do it all the time, because it’s not easy being human. We humans stumble through life making mistakes, hurting other people, living our lives filled with anxiety and dread – but what are we supposed to do about this?
The Bible reading last week was John 12:20-26, which includes Jesus’ statement “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus was trying to teach humans to learn to let it go. Let the seeds of your guilt, worry, petty annoyances, anger, and anxiety die – and a beautiful new life will bloom. But as Jesus says, if you can’t bring yourself to let go of all these things that you hate, they will stick to you like glue. Like, forever.
Then Pastor Sandy’s message focused on how difficult it is for us humans to let it go – for lots of reasons – because it is familiar, because the future is unknown, because we’ve been taught that persistence is good and we should never give up. Or because we are afraid of coming alive as our true selves.
So . . . . Jesus wants us to let go of the whatever is familiar and known in our lives, so that we can blossom and become our true selves. Let go of the anxiety, the dread, the resentment. Apologize (and accept the apologies of others), make things right to the extent possible, and move on.
Ah, come on! I even have to forgive Xfinity for all my internet problems? That might be asking a bit much, and besides, I wouldn’t even know how to do this. Plus, righteous indignation feels good sometimes. But he warns us that if we don’t, all that negativity will stick to us for eternity. I don’t like idea of that at all but all that letting go sounds exhausting. It really is not easy being human.
But Pastor Sandy pointed out that God provides a model for letting go of everything holding us back. God has shown us time and again a willingness to let it go, and wipe the slate clean – forgetting and forgiving us for all our faults and foibles. Even when we provide bad internet service. As the lyrics from one of my favorite songs state:
“Yeah, I hope when we get to heaven
He looks at us like we’re kids
Shameless and painless and perfect and ageless
Forgives us the wrong that we did.”
(Thomas Rhett “Remember You Young”)
As Pastor Sandy says, we can put down those burdens that aren’t ours to carry, and ask God to help us with our pain, insecurity, fear, anxiety, anger and dread. Get rid of useless stuff, toxic relationships and a brain full of worry. If God is willing to let it go, then we should be able to, right? Like with everything else, we can try . . . . . . and keep trying, and keep trying . . . . and the good thing is that we know God will always be there for us during our imperfect, very human attempts at letting go. Because I do believe that God does look at us like we’re kids – shameless and painless and perfect and ageless. How much more wonderful would life be if we looked at each other with the same patience and understanding, forgiving each other the way God always forgives us. Because after all, we are all just human.
*With thanks to Laurie Turpin Soderholm for editorial assistance.
All blogs are reviewed by Pastor Sandy before posting.