Being Human

Pearl Madison: I'm only human, man. Leland: It's funny how people only say that after they do something bad. I mean, you never hear someone say, "I'm only human" after they rescue a kid from a burning building. The United States of Leland [2003]

Leland (a high school student imprisoned for murder) gently rebukes his teacher for justifying his sin. In doing so he also exposes our general misunderstanding of what it means to be human. Of course, I understand where the confusion comes from. Look around. What do all humans have in common? We do wrong. We commit evil deeds. We all sin. But sin is not the result of being human. In fact sin is what gets in the way of our humanity. Sin is the corruption of humaness. It is the source of our pain and suffering. It is what makes the world less of a wonder that inspires awe, and more of a puzzle that doesn't come together.

To be human is more than being "a member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens." It means we have been made in God's image. I am not here delving into a discussion on the imago dei. I only want to draw our attention to the idea that the wrong we do cannot be attributed to our humanity, but only to the corruption of it. This means all of the good that we accomplish is the fruit of our humanity - whatever is left of it. The redemption we have in Jesus, and the plan of God for our restoration and recreation is not to make us into gods, or ethereal beings, but to perfect our humanity. Only then can we rightly reflect our Creator/Redeemer.