Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.
— Francis Bacon
The thing that I’ve been thinking about since my injury last weekend is the way animals react to being scared. (Since this is what led to the dog biting me). And this led me to think about how people do the same thing.
Animals tend to react to fear one of two ways: running away or aggressively defending themselves. Retreating or fighting. Avoiding or confronting. I believe an animal reacts by instinct – and that way is hardwired into their DNA. Animals, because they don’t possess logical capabilities, simply react the way their primal nature directs them.
I have met people who react to fear the same way, primally and without reason.
Problems arise when the other person (sometimes the Unsuspecting Victim) doesn’t perceive the situation to be threatening or hazardous, and isn’t prepared for the scared person’s reaction, which often doesn’t correspond to their present circumstances. Rarely does the Unsuspecting Victim escape unscathed.
It is interesting to me that as different as humans and animals are, at the base of each of our selves, we share common instincts. The need for food, safety, and sex is universal, but the means by which we as humans satisfy those needs (should) set us apart from animals.
We people can’t go around acting like animals, obeying every whim that crosses our minds. I mean, without the ability to reason through a situation, we would live in a murderous, adulterous, abusive, thieving world. Oh wait… we do.
OK. So. It is a fact that a lot of people base their decisions solely on what they “want” to do, as the murder, divorce, assault, debt, theft, and abortion rates will attest to. I still have faith that not all people choose live at the mercy of their Human Nature, although we all wrestle with trying to control it.
I believe that human beings are not born “good”, and our instincts guide us to be selfish instead of altruistic. Most people are taught right from wrong by their parents. Children must be taught to share, not to hit others, and to obey, because none of us came out of the womb that way!
I believe that in order to overcome our Human Nature, we must accept a new Nature; we must allow the love of God to overcome our own corrupt selves. We must rely on Him for every decision we make. However, it is not an outright once-and-for-all overcoming. It is a daily struggle. Our Human Nature and our new Spiritual Nature will always be at odds, and therefore, we must think before we act.
Dogs don’t have that ability. Dogs don’t understand the concept of morality. Dogs don’t make “bad decisions”. They are simply dogs being dogs. Then when they act too much like dogs, they get put in their cage, spayed, neutered, or euthanized. Simple as that.
I am so very thankful I don’t have to live as a slave to myself and my own desires. Self is powerful and is hard to wrestle with and almost always leads me down a path of ruin. I can’t recall a single time where I have been filled with joy by a decision I made without seeking God’s guidance. For me, it is worth the fight to live free in God’s grace and not in sin’s bondage.
Thank God for this sentiment and for friends who aren’t afraid to use it:
So let me be a friend and say to you: Get over yourself. You’ll thank me for it later.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
— 2 Corinthians 5:17
P.S. I love the exclamation mark at the end!! 🙂