To Become Truly Human

After Dr. Green’s passing unto the next stage of his existence, I decided to buy some Flannery O’Connor and Frederick Buechner books. I wanted to know why they were his favorite authors. I wanted to get inside their heads to see why their writings affected him so much. I received one of the books in the mail yesterday. I was so excited to open it and read the words such a great man was influenced by.  Here’s a devotion that immediately caught my eye and my heart.

“This other war is the war not to conquer but the war to become whole and at peace inside our skins. It is a war not of conquest now but of liberation because the object of this other war is to liberate that dimension of selfhood which has somehow become lost, that dimension of selfhood that involves the capacity to forgive and to will the good not only of the self but of all other selves. This other war is the war to become a human being. This is the goal that we are really after and that God is really after. This is the goal that power, success, and security are often forlorn substitutes for. This is the victory that not all our human armory of self-confidence and wisdom and personality can win for us, not simply to be treated as human but to become at last truly human.”

~Frederick Buechner

The devotion struck a minor chord within my soul. I want to not simply be treated as human but to become at last truly human. I recognize when I live out selfish and arrogant affections in my daily life that I am becoming something less than God desires for me. I am acting less human. This seems counterintuitive to experience though. When someone does something morally reprehensible or one has animal cravings for lustful desires, we chalk it up to some disgusting categorical statement of “it’s just human nature.” I disdain such pessimistic shortcomings of what we as humanity can be. We can be so much more with Christ’s sufficient grace. We can win the war to become truly human again. Maybe not completely in this life, but surely enough to matter and make meaningful influences on the people around us. Dr. Greene’s passing has really opened up my heart as of lately to be a better human. To be a better image bearer in the small things in life. I want to be vulnerable to the people around me so they can truly see God’s grace within my heart and life. I want to know a few people so deeply and I desire for them to know me. All of me. I want to experience the joy, pain, and hope of the human experience through heartfelt, significant realtionships around me.  To get to this point, I have to win the war to become whole and at peace inside my own skin.

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2 responses to “To Become Truly Human

  1. Austin, I appreciate this post. I like these ideas of becoming more or less human. I have read some N. T. Wright lately, and he plays with ideas that C. S. Lewis had regarding becoming more or less human. They talk about how our glorified, resurrection bodies are actually much more human than our earthly bodies are – that we are essentially restored to full humanity. On the flipside of that, Lewis (and Wright) describes someone becoming LESS human in Hell (this is some of the idea behind the stuff in the Great Divorce). I think it’s true what they say, and I believe that Dr. Greene is more than likely at present “more human” than he ever was here on earth, and that we will all one day have our true humanity restored at the final resurrection.

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