Continuing a series on (hopefully) simply written basic areas of what we believe. The previous one covered the core teaching we have about God.
This time we will look at the area of human nature and what we can say we are like, realising we are created by God and yet we feel that our life is our own.
A really important word with this topic is ‘tendencies’ – important because it means we are likely to get things wrong, or likely to act selfishly, not bound to do so just because we are human. This will help us a lot, and it also helps us to think about whether human nature makes us ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘both good and bad’ or ‘neither good nor bad’. And remember we are thinking about human nature in general, not what so-and-so is like or does but what we are all generally like.
The starting-point has to be with love. Love is our life’s energy, but what we love may differ or it may change over time. But we must (by nature) love something. Because it seems to us that our life is ours, we tend (note the word) to love ourselves most of all to begin with. The goal is for that to change more towards loving other people and loving the Lord. How that can happen is for another time.
Another important part of human nature is that we can think things over. We call this being rational. It dovetails with our free will which means that we can choose and determine things for ourselves. Hopefully both reasoning and free will together are pointing in the same direction of wanting to love more than just us.
Lastly – and very neatly – is the idea that we make these choices as if we’re making them ourselves but learning more and more that our wish to reach out to others or to do what is good and right is something that comes to us from the Lord. But even so, the Lord still lets us feel it’s all our doing because he loves us.