I cringe when I hear those words: “We’re only human, after all.”
I understand the sentiment that motivates these words most of the time. It is a way to extend forgiveness to others by sharing in their fallenness. Of course, the phrase takes a different turn when applied to ourselves: “I’m only human.” And in both cases, it implies something that undermines the heart of Wesleyan theology; the tradition of which the Church of the Nazarene is a part. It implies that sin is an inevitable and inescapable part of human existence and that responsibility for our own sinfulness can be dodged by the simple recognition that this is how we were created.
But it isn’t.
We were created as a part of God’s perfect creation. We were formed by perfect hands, from perfect dust into the perfect form, filled with perfect breath, and placed in a perfect garden. We were created for the perfect purpose of perfect worship (which is perfect relational harmony with God). We were not created in sin; we were created in perfection.
The problem of being “only human” is that we were not created “only” anything.
If humankind was ever incomplete, it was when it existed outside of relationship with other humans (when the man did not have the woman; the help-mate). The need for relationships is part of our created identity.
Do you know what destroys relationships? Being “only human.” Sin. Selfishness. Becoming comfortable with our fallenness rather than pursuing to be remade according to our created image, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than being only human, we’re called to chase after what makes us most fully human. We were created in God’s image! We were created to worship the God of creation through perfect expressions of perfect love, and through a sanctified heart that is fully surrendered and aligned to the will of God.
We are most fully human when we love the unlovable.
We are most fully human when we serve the undeserving.
We are most fully human when our identity is rooted in the worshipful purpose that is shared by all divine breath-filled dust.
We are most fully human when we recognize what it really means to be human, and knowing God becomes the desire of our hearts.
Let’s give up on being “only human.”