Humanism; June 7, 2018

Mark 8:33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Since Mark is the record of Peter’s memories, we know that this was branded in Peter’s brain, especially after his later denying he knew Jesus. (Mark 14:66-72) This actually should be very instructive to us. Peter had no awareness of playing into Satan’s hand here, until Jesus said so. Rather, he thought he was being protective and kind toward Jesus. This shows the danger of depending on the human perspective. As the Lord so memorably told Isaiah, His thoughts aren’t the same as ours, or His ways our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) This is a frequent problem in human society. It’s only in Church circles that “humanism” and “humanistic” are seen as bad in any way. I think that’s because our general point of reference isn’t God, but animals, and “”human” is seen as better than “animal.” However, having a reference point lower than yourself doesn’t encourage you to be and do better things. In contrast, Jesus tells us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) That will be aspiring for as long as we are in these bodies!

The Japanese have really latched onto “humanism” as a good thing, with their love of appropriating (and often misappropriating) foreign words. There’s even a “Human” bus company! I have even been rebuked by a Japanese pastor when I tried to express that God might have a different view of a particular situation than the one the media was taking. Having been in this position far too much myself, I can see that humanism is a form of idolatry, making man the arbiter of right and wrong rather than God. That is precisely why Jesus had to rebuke Peter. Contrary to popular imagination, the devil doesn’t come to us with red skin, horns, and a pitchfork, but rather as the most reasonable of friends. Jesus’ words to Peter doubtless came across like a slap to the face, but sometimes we need that to wake us up to what is going on. I am seldom that direct, because I fear making people not like me, when I should be afraid of their following the devil to destruction. I seek to help others see things from God’s perspective, but I often need help myself! All of this calls for more wisdom than I have, but I have the assurance that God has all the wisdom I need. (James 1:5)

Father, help me indeed see things from Your perspective, not allowing my flesh, society around me, or the devil himself deceive me. That happens far too often! May I be a pure vessel of Your perfect love, that doesn’t spoil people but rather seeks Your very best for them, whatever that looks like to human eyes. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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