Christians, Non-Christians, and the "Fully Man" Problem with Jesus
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2009 Mar 05
We Christians spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the divinity of Jesus, don't we? We're very comfortable with that aspect of His nature and experience.
It seems to me we're not quite as comfortable, though, with Christ having been an Actual Human Guy. That part is a little ... fuzzier, for us. We cringe, for example, at the idea of Jesus having had a sex drive.
We want our Christ to have been "fully man," as we put it---but without the sex drive.
But isn't that like bowling---but without the pins? There is no bowling without the pins. There's just ... goofy-looking shoes.
Anyway, how someone could be at once sinless and fully man is a mystery for theologians and Important Church Leaders to figure out and comment upon. What do I know? I'm just a lowly believer. (I equate having a sex drive with necessarily being sinful, by the way, only insofar as Jesus, in Matthew 5:27-28, says, "Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." And it just seems to me that virtually every man with a sex drive looks at a woman lustfully ... oh, I don't know ... at least once a day? Maybe twice, if he's had a good night's sleep?)
I am, however (being a late-life convert and former Christianity disdainer) extremely familiar with the reasons non-Christians tend to shun Christians and Christianity. Take it from me: Chief among those reasons is that we Christians have a very distinct tendency to act like nothing whatsoever is wrong with us.
We do that because we want to be---or at least act as if we are---Christ-like. And there was certainly nothing wrong with Christ, is there? Therefore, there can or certainly should be nothing wrong with us, right? Righteously right.
But that there's nothing wrong with us just doesn't jibe with the truth about human life that all humans, including all non-Christians, know, which is that a whole bunch of stuff is always wrong with everybody.
Life hurts. Every mortal person is riddled with doubts about who they are, and how they're doing, and whether they're good enough, and whether anyone loves them. Those sorts of thoughts and doubts are in very large part what it means to be human.
Non-Christians feel like Christians are so busy trying to pretend they're Christ-like that they too often refuse to acknowledge that, first and foremost, they're human. They think we're lying---that, in fact, we're willfully self-deluded hypocrites---because we refuse to acknowledge our humanity. They don't want to become Christians because they don't (as they see it) want to spend their lives lying to themselves and others.
I know that we Christians aren't self-deluded liars, of course. I'm just saying that it's easy enough for us to sometimes come across that way. I have no idea what the solution to that might be. But I suspect it has something to do with our getting a lot more comfortable with the part our faith that holds that Christ was fully man.
I think that if we can allow Christ to appear more human to us, then maybe we can allow ourselves to appear more human to others. And I think that would go a very long way toward helping our relationships with non-Christians.