2 Instincts

Humans, like other creatures, are born with instincts that lead to greater chances for their survival. Human babies are born with at least two instincts (there may be more but I want to focus on two). Other animals are born with more instincts (horses must stand up shortly after birth) but human babies have two easily recognizable instincts, and both are necessary for their survival: to suck and to hold on.

Sucking is how babies get nutrition from their moms and grasping is how babies hold on to the person holding them. Without those two instincts, babies would have a harder time living past a few days. Both of those instincts have something else in common: they are self-centered. Sucking and holding are meant to pull things into the person. Nothing about a baby is designed to help others or be outwardly focused (other than they are incredibly beautiful and remind us of God’s wondrous creativity).

Jesus and the New Testament writers continually teach us to “be like God.” That means shedding our human ways and instincts in order to be more God-like. That is difficult—some say impossible—for us, but it is a worthy goal.

My readings in the Gospels teach me that Jesus’ instincts were not to pull back, suck in, or hold on to anything. Generosity and selflessness were his characteristics. Giving away life, sight, healing, food, time, money, teachings, and so many other things were Jesus’ nature. Jesus taught – by definition an act of giving away – and lived out sharing the Good News. Even in death, he gave his life. John 3:16 has the verbs “love” and “gave” which are words inculcated with sharing.

Openhanded-ness is God’s instinct. God loves to give and serve. That is God’s nature. I pray that all people, but especially Christians because we know God, would live lives of sharing, openhanded-ness, giving, and generosity, because that is what being God-like is like.

Lead On!