I was watching Jersey Shore the other day… What. I was… So?
Anyway. I was watching all these kids with their uber-tans and goopy hair and lack of functional undergarments, and I was utterly fascinated. The whole entire show is about who is cheating on who, and who is stealing from who, who is sabotaging who, who is lying to who, and who is giving who an STD - and then all of that excitement is punctuated by snippets of all these greasy Meatballs talking into a camera to tell us about said cheating, stealing, sabotaging, lying and STDing. It’s… weird. And it’s dirty. Not gonna lie, it draws me in, in some messed up way.
So the other day, this guy – you know, on Jersey Shore – this guy had done something stupid and it pissed off his girlfriend, so he looked at the camera and said, “What?! So now I’m frickin’ Jesus? I’m Jesus and I’m so perfect I’m not gonna look at another girl’s rack when it’s right in front of me?! Cuz I’m not perfect, and I am going to look!...I’m only human, ya know.”
Ugh! I really hate that.
I hate it when people use the fact that they're human as an excuse to be a douche.
It doesn’t even make sense. I mean, I could understand it if you were, like, ripping my arm off, for example, and I was crying and begging you to stop but you wouldn’t stop because you were, say, a tiger. Then you might say to me, “I’m sorry, but I’m only a tiger”, and I would totally have to be understanding because a tiger lives by instinct and not reason. So it would be pretty stupid of me to beg a tiger to stop hurting me, because a tiger lacks that little seen human-trait we call ‘compassion’.
But to claim that your humanity is the thing that’s keeping you from doing the right thing? That seems backwards to me. Isn’t it our humanity that compels us to treat others with kindness and respect? Isn’t it our humanness that kind of pushes us toward decency?
One of the things that I love about the Bible is that as we look into the life of Jesus we get such a clear picture of his humanity. We see Jesus celebrate and mourn, and we see him challenge injustice and cross social barriers. He is protective of the prostitute, gentle with the elderly, and compassionate toward the infirm. I like to think that during Jesus time on Earth, he was showing us a thing or two about how treat one another in this life....like, the life we’re living... right now…
But somewhere along the line, following Jesus became a quest for perfection - of course, we’re not perfect – we’re only human. So we pray for the divine strength to stop looking at porn, or whatever, and when that doesn’t work we say, “Well, what do you expect? Jesus was perfect because he was God, and I’m only human.” And then we pray for forgiveness for drinking two-thirds of a bottle of scotch and, again, we say, “Please God, give me the divine strength to quit boozing it up and slapping the 'ol wife around.” Or whatever. And when that doesn’t work we cry, “I want to stop, but I’m only human!” And then we pray to God to give us the power to stop ignoring the baby while we eff around on the internet, or to please, God, please, help us stop flirting with the hot clerk at Whole Foods because we know it’s wrong, and then when we fail, or worse, when someone catches us, we grab on to that familiar line, and fling it out there as a catch-all for our crappy behavior, “I’m sorry…but I’m only human.”
Yeesh. What have we done?
Maybe we need to be praying less for some kind of divine intervention and more for the simple compassion to stop injuring, using, abusing, or neglecting the people that cross our paths in a given day. Maybe we ought to pray for a deeper sense of our fellow man so that we might see how the things we’re doing are affecting our spouse (current, or future), our children, and the world in general. Perhaps if we pray for the kind of humanity Jesus showed us through his own, we would have to stop shrugging our shoulders about this fallen world and actually change our behavior. What?!
I dunno, I’m just thinking out loud here.
The truth is, if we were all human like Jesus, Jersey Shore would be super boring, and nobody would watch it....
....and then it would get canceled. ← Whoa. Case in point!
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"I'm only human" is definitely my go to pardon-my-douchiness catch-phrase. Can you think of any others?