I prayed that God would help me better understand the characters of both Him and of those He created. And this week, I came across four different sources that taught me separately about a this common theme. I'll just type my thoughts here though they don't culminate to some fantastic conclusion now.
1) PT talked Sunday about creation. We were created a little lower than the angels and above the animals. "Therefore," he said, "humans should not be treated like animals and humans should not act like animals." Unfortunately, both are happening and sex trafficking is a very real example: because some people choose to act like animals, others are being treated like animals.
2) I read a point well-argued by Siddharth Kara, scholar-author of the book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. He observes a repetitive sequence through human history: desire left unchecked leads to suffering leads to anger leads to violence leads to destruction. Though a secular writer, he essentially explains the reality of man’s sinful nature.
3) On Thanksgiving, my Dad randomly texted me about Mark 7:20-23, "From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” This is basically a list of those desires of the sinful nature which lead to and have always led to suffering.
4) I have been reading Jeremiah and am now studying the flood. I observed the very pattern described by Kara in biblical history:
Abraham with God while the process of d>s>a>v>d went on throughout the rest of the world. Eventually d>s>a>v>d brought down both Israel and Judah (as well as Babylon, Egypt and Assyria).
Now, as always, humanity is in a d>s>a>v>d process (human trafficking, genocides, racial & gender prejudices (esp in other counties), worldwide socioeconomic disparity, strings of evil dictators are evidence) and some day earth will face destruction by fire.We were not created for any of these dreadful ways- we are a little lower than the angels. God is long suffering, slow to anger, and abounding in patience and love. “Again and again, He allowed years to pass and human sin to develop until He displayed His authority and power and judgement.” I don't think I have ever seen God the way I see Him now before. He has always confused me, honestly, claiming to be just and gracious and wrathful all at the same time when I felt more like He demonstrated each of those vastly different qualities at distinctly different times. Many think God is mean and demanding of adherence to a list of rules He made up without apparent reason and they joke that life is a cruel test to see if we can obey. Well, I have never thought that, but I couldn't give a clear answer to people who ask about it- other than skipping to an explanation for grace while leaving out the why. And when I found myself wondering, "If God is a God of justice, why is there is so much injustice in the world?" I just wanted an answer deeper than, "well, in order to bring justice, He'd have to take away freewill." I want to understand the condition of the human heart and I want to understand the purpose of His precepts. It is not surprising that a loving creator would desire for those He loved to live in peace and joy rather than self-induced heartache. He lovingly gives us a clear description of how to live and how not to live and encourages us to be self-controlled then even empowers us with the spirit. Our God longs for justice and justice will be brought. I haven't figured all of this out yet and I may not ever fully, but I think I am getting closer.
5) The video below also influenced me greatly this week.