Are we being dehumanized by our choices? So, is ‘sin’ a part of being human or is it that which dehumanizes? What is accomplished when we do “what is right in [our] own eyes”?
It is Friday, the end of the work week, but not the end of the month. Normally it is closer to the end of the month when this article is written. However, the schedule for next week includes a minimally invasive arthroscopic hip surgery. So, things are a bit “up in the air.”
A repeated verse…
As I pondered what I would share, a verse kept coming to my mind. You see, my morning devotional reading this week included the book of Judges. The verse is repeated verbatim in 17:6 and 21:25 – “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Closely akin to this is another phrase repeated seven times in Judges: “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2:11; 3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1;10:6; 13:1).
The twice repeated verse appears the first time (17:6) at a transition point in the narrative. A woman, who is nameless, openly confesses her devotion to God in blessing and dedication, but her actions run directly counter to that confession. Though her son has a very orthodox name (Micah means “Who is like Yahweh?”), he commits the ultimate crime. He violates God’s explicit command not to worship other gods nor to make any physical representations of deity. The tragedy is that neither Micah, nor his mother, seem to realize the incongruity of their actions. They were dehumanized by their choices. Though they are deadly sincere in their religious expression, they are deadly pagan in their actions. They chose death.
A blessed promise…
This week I heard again the reminder that we should never accept sinning as a part of being human. Not sure about you, but when someone ‘sins’ (one of those dreadful mistakes we all make from time to time), I cringe when someone else says, “They’re only human.” NO! Being truly human means being made in the image of God. We teach that Jesus was fully human, as well as fully divine. Think about it! Fully human, yet without sin. Rather, as in Jude 10, when we sin (doing what is right in our own eyes and evil in the sight of the Lord) we are behaving “like unreasoning animals.” Are we being dehumanized by our choices?
This is where the beauty of the promise found in Psalm 37:5-6 needs to be stressed: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” As humans, when we “Commit [our] way to the Lord” and “trust in Him,” the Psalmist assures us that God will “bring forth [our] righteousness as the light and [our] justice as the noonday.”
Though we live in a world which believes (or at least practices) that a person should be free to do what is right in his/her own eyes, we need to model for them something different.