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Recognizing our humanity.
If the Christian ceases to acknowledge his own humanity, then in time he will cease being a Christian.
The good news of God‘s continuing, renewing action in the world comes frustrating gift-wrapped in the bad news about humanity. There is ample evidence in the Scriptures of vital living flowing out of a deep personal sense of limitations, and of personal out of a deep personal sense of limitations, and of personal failure. The Bible is devastatingly frank in its assertion that even the heroes of the faith had, like us, feet of clay.
The person whose life is poured out in ‘reckless living’ has either come to think that he or she is ‘god’ and above human frailty, accepting responsibilities and personal attributes as being true about him or herself that rightly belong to God and to God alone; or the person has settled for a frenetic living that in part is a mask for an unconscious sense of personal human frailty, projecting personal weaknesses on to others, and then relentlessly trying to remedy those projections. As Beha puts it so graphically, writing of the energies thus expended in concealing personal pain.
“By camouflaging them with excuses, blaming circumstances or projecting responsibility onto others, we bury the nuclear wastes of our past and hope that there are no damaging leaks into the present. But there always are.” (M. Beha, ‘By his wounds..” Review for Religious, 43.2).
One key to avoiding, or being delivered from, the snare of ‘reckless living’ is for the Christian to accept his or her humanity, and to come to terms with human limitations and weakness. The Apostle Paul’s insight that the Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26) carries with it the conviction that the recognition of humanity is paralleled, for the Christian, by the active presence of the spirit. Spirituality is diminished to the degree to which the Christian ignores his or her own ordinary needs and incapacities.
The richness and power of living is only experienced in the pain of it. It is more stressful to deny or avoid human frailty than it is to accept it and experience grace in it.