I do a lot of thinking about human behavior.
Many people say they love “people watching” for whatever reason, but I am more of a “people understanding” aficionado.
Why do people do what they do?
“What are my motives?” is the question that brings instant clarity to the condition of my heart when I am honest with myself or someone else.
What is the thought or emotion engine to the action undertaken?
With that being said, I have made some observations recently worth investigating further.
Run, Hide, Lie:
Have you ever been caught doing something wrong? (yes)
Have you ever caught someone doing something wrong? (certainly)
It occurred to me recently that humans will instinctively do one of three things when they are caught doing something wrong: run, hide, or lie. In time we may choose to confess or admit wrongdoing, but this is certainly not our instinct.
I think back to the story of Adam and Eve when sin entered the world. After committing the very first sin, they proceeded to run, hide, and lie.
They ran from the Lord and hid their shame
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:9-10
and lied about their actions by blaming (as if the Lord didn’t already know, the irony there is rich).
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:11
We see this play out all of the time in our own lives, the lives of friends, the media, etc. How can we possibly deny the depravity of man and thus the existence of sin when such a universal instinct to run, hide, and lie is so clearly evident?
The Irony of American Liberty and Tolerance:
I just finished reading If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty
And I am currently reading The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists
These books are obviously very different. One addresses the idea of American Liberty and its importance to our history as a nation while the other is an attempt to refute modern atheist thought proposed by Sam Harris in his book The End of Faith.
I recommend both, but something else really struck me as I was reading these books.
We take so much for granted without understanding the foundation or origin for the very things we take for granted. If you were raised in America, you breathe free air without even thinking about it. You have protected rights to do some things that would still get you killed in other countries (especially other countries in different eras). Rights enshrined in our governing documents. Rights that we just accept as fact. Some may call them unalienable rights (see Declaration of Independence).
You see, as Americans, we are fond of pointing to our rights. Raise your hand if you ever said “oh yeah, well it’s my right to do this!” when you were trying to defend some sort of action requiring justification by appealing to a law we would all recognize.
What is this law though? We appeal to this law as if it is just there without stopping to ask why it is there, where it came from, or whom it came from? Perhaps its Natural Law, given by a higher power. Maybe they are endowed by a Creator as Thomas Jefferson said (again, see Declaration of Independence)
Now here is where the irony comes in:
We live in a culture that routinely belittles Judeo Christian values, while simultaneously raising the banner of tolerance… all while not recognizing the very liberty they DO have and tolerance they speak of were SECURED by a government built on the radical concept of individual liberty.
A concept drawn directly from Judeo Christian values…
To me, this is the height of arrogance and an abuse of Liberty that is undermining the fabric of our nation. We need to recapture the radical idea that America was founded on: Liberty.
If “Nature abhors a vacuum”, then humans abhor uncertainty. Recently the idea of certainty vs uncertainty has come to mind. Media, conversations, personal reflection.
Even if the situation is certain to be bad, it is better than not knowing. How else do we explain the desire to know the status of a loved one who is lost in a tragic accident? We hear the refrain time and time again that people just wish they knew what happened to their loved one.
In my experience, things that were certainly bad were better than not knowing.
Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of my Mom’s death. I was thinking about that time and when my mom was dying, the certainty of her death was horrible. But the uncertainty of the timing was agony as well.
Uncertainty is like walking in the dark without an end in sight.
We take shorter steps in the dark.
You probably use GPS when driving in an area you have never been before, and nobody goes sprinting through their house in the dark for fear of losing a toe on a piece of furniture.
So why do I mention this, what’s the point?
Well the point is, the only certain thing in life is uncertainty. You really don’t know what tomorrow holds.
You have to make peace with uncertainty, which is against your nature. Yet, we all try.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We ALL cope with uncertainty through faith. I submit that we all place our faith in something. We all have a confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
What explains this? Perhaps we were designed this way. Regardless of what you believe about the presence or absence of God, you have to contend with this reality.
I have made my decision. As a follower of Christ, I have placed my faith in Jesus.
Where are you placing your faith?