Become Fully Human

Priest Dustin Lyon | 08 April 2019

As many of you know, I’m fairly active in many different community activities. One of them is something called “New World Brewing.”

This is an intentional conversation. Each month, there’s a selected topic. Two “conversation starters” get the ball rolling (I’ll be talking about my conversion to Orthodoxy next month) and, then, we talk.

This month’s conversation was the question: what does it mean to be human?

To date, this was one of my favorite conversations. So much so that I wrote about it for my semi-regular Telegraph Herald article–it should be out next weekend.

One of our conversation starters attempted to address the question by asking what makes humans unique?

Is it our ability to communicate? To create art? Or, even, to tell stories?

Perhaps, if there’s something that sets us apart from technology and animals, then that must be what it means to be human.

For Orthodox Christians, I believe we see true humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus shows us what it means to be human by his love–he takes up his cross and dies for the world. This isn’t just erotic love nor is it filial love.

It’s sacrificial love, what we call agape.

And, we’re called to become human by following Jesus’s footsteps. We too are called to pick up our cross.

Unfortunately, our “fallenness” often gets in the way. 

We have good intentions, but something happens and we aren’t quite the “good” Christian we intended to be. We’ve missed the mark, fallen short . . . or, to use “church speak,” we end up sinning.

But God doesn’t want us to remain in our fallenness. He promises to restore us when we repent and turn to him for salvation.

After all, his grace is bigger than our sins.

Confession is the sacrament where all this is possible.

Confession is the sacrament that allows us to unburden our souls and feel the healing touch of Christ.

Through confession, we are renewed–it’s a baptism of tears as the Fathers teach.

Confession, though, can be scary. But it shouldn’t be. I’ve always found peace after I make my confession.

Perhaps, you don’t know what to confess? Today’s reading from Proverbs gives us some ideas.

There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 6:16-20)

No matter how great, or how small, your sins are, God is waiting to embrace you and make you whole.

God is waiting to make you fully and authentically human!

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