Thursday, July 18, 2013

Humanity in Remission

     Humanity (the state of being human, not the institution itself) is something that plagues me. Being human makes me lose the will to live. It attacks my soul, it deteriorates my moral condition, it kills all potential of goodness within me. Yes, to be human is to be cursed; it's been fate ever since the incident in the Garden of Eden. To be human is to be selfish at all times, even when you feel you're being selfless. It's being arrogant even though you feel humble. It's being self-righteous and hypocritical, even while you feel that you've gotten it all figure out, you're living life the way you ought to. Humanity is something that will devour you. Much as cancer attacks its host's body and kills it, so, too, does humanity, in an alarmingly literal way. Unlike cancer and other lethal diseases, though, humanity has a treatment that can be quite effective, even more-so than radiation or chemo therapy. 

     When a person has a terminal illness, there are perhaps no sweeter words to be uttered by a doctor than "it's in remission". Remission. It's going away; retreating, diminishing, the very harbinger of death is itself dying away. How wonderful to know that there's hope, that life will get better, maybe even easier. This demon disease that's been gnawing at your insides, devouring your hope and will to go on, it's retreating. Remission.

     I'm here to tell you that my humanity is in remission. Yes, the thing that has plagued my life for 23 years now, making me selfish, hard-hearted, impatient, harsh, hateful, controlling, spiteful, arrogant, self-righteous, and many other hideous things, this disease called humanity is in remission. It's retreating. Going away. Every day, I find myself thinking less of myself and more of others and how I can help them. My empathy and compassion increases steadily. I find myself more willing to take time to understand people, I'm now able to wait much longer without complaining or feeling angry. I find my speech becoming less hateful, less negative, and more positive and loving. I no longer hate anyone, even those I once considered enemies. I have a much easier time surrendering control of every aspect of my life, I no longer feel as though I'm spiraling out of control when things don't go as I expected or planned. I find myself forgiving more readily, and holding grudges less and less. I hesitate to mention anything about pride, because almost by default when one claims humility they display arrogance, although I do find myself more willing to take correction and input about my life from others. Best of all, self-righteousness is fading away. How can I possibly be self-righteous when I have nothing to offer? I am a human, a member of this cursed institution known as "Humanity". There is nothing good in me.

     There is nothing good in me, save for the One who saved me. The treatment I spoke of earlier, the one even more effective than radiation and chemo therapy, the treatment that has sent my humanity into remission; this treatment is the cleansing blood of Christ, which atones for my humanity and takes my sins to the grave. This treatment is the Holy Spirit, which floods my soul and lends peace to my troubled and anxious mind. This treatment is the unending, eternal love of God, which offers me escape from humanity. I have done nothing to deserve this opportunity. Nothing I can or could ever do would qualify me for this. As I said before, I have nothing to bring to the table, I have no good thing to offer that would atone for the cursed sins of my humanity. Before receiving this treatment, I was a hopeless wretch, fast succumbing to this disease, humanity. There was no good thing in me. My soul was destined for Hell. Now that I have this escape, though, now that I'm covered in the blood, flooded with the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in the great love of the One True God, my humanity is in remission, and I'm seeing the results. This is not by anything I have done, this is solely the result of the treatment.

     Relapse. A disheartening term in the medical world, relapse is practically the opposite of remission. Relapse is a falling back into the old problem. Relapse is when the disease gains ground again, rears its ugly head, and causes problems once more. How heartbreaking, to have been making progress, but then experience such a setback, a setback called "relapse". This happens not only to patients with cancer or other illness, but it can happen to struggling with humanity, too. In fact, while not guaranteed for patients with cancer or other illnesses, relapse IS guaranteed for everyone struggling with humanity. Humanity is a state of being, one that cannot be fully transcended until death. Cancer and other terminal illness are just that: illnesses. Potentially lethal, but not always permanent. No, sadly, with humanity, even when it's in remission, even those who receive treatment, all will eventually fall again. All will relapse into sin. Even those with the most successful reaction to the treatment, those people who appear so spiritual and as though they've got their life all together, they are destined to succumb to humanity again. For while we can become Christians from non-believers, we cannot become non-humans from humans.

     Another difference between the remission of humanity and that of cancer and other illnesses, though, is that while remission cannot always be possible for patients with cancer and other illnesses, it is always an option for those struggling with the burden of humanity. God's arms are always open, the Holy Spirit will fill your soul if you ask, and the cleansing blood of Jesus has been spilt on your account and He has risen from the dead, defeating death and humanity itself so you don't have to. Even after experiencing relapse, remission is always possible again.

     My humanity is in remission. It cannot be cured while I'm on this earth. I'm destined to experience relapses many times over. But with remission comes hope. My life isn't perfect. I don't have it all figured out. I'm still a human, so by nature, I'm still a bad person who sins daily and struggles with various inner demons consistently. The only difference is, I'm a human filled with the Holy Spirit to guide me, the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for my sins, and a God that loves me enough to send His son to spill His precious blood and conquer death for my benefit. Yes, my humanity is in remission. And yours can be, too.

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