Every normal human rejoices when he sees someone doing the right thing. A little child wanders across a busy road and a driver stops his car, gets out and leads him safely across, and thus prevents him from getting injured. An old woman stumbles and falls heavily to the pavement and a youngster goes to her aid and helps her get to her feet. A hungry youngster, not having eaten for days, enters a café with less than a dime and the owner gives him a hamburger with French fries and a drink and takes no money for them.
These, and many more examples of people doing the right thing, warm the heart and give us a sense that humans aren’t so bad.
Yet there is so much evidence to the contrary.
Take the case of what happened some years ago in Hackney in East London, U.K. A young woman was walking across Hackney Green late at night on her way home and encountered a man who was also walking; and the man dragged her into an alley and raped her. The young lady was extremely distraught and as she stumbled from the alley crying for help, her clothing in disarray, two men came to her assistance and each took his turn raping her and then fled.
As far as I am aware no one was ever arrested for the offense.
Is it possible for normal people to act like this? To rape someone is depraved and unconscionable but to carry out such appalling wickedness on someone who has been injured and asking for help is, we can all agree, unacceptable behaviour.
The question arises, what is normal human behaviour?
Many will argue that a normal human being is totally corrupt, and has nothing good within him, and if there were no external restraint and sanction he would be like a deadly plague, infecting and consuming everything he contacts. When believers believe this, then they go on to quote scriptures such as:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
“This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3)
” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
That man is corrupt is beyond dispute, but the crucial question needs to be asked. Does normal human behaviour bound to be depraved, or is it possible to include acts of every-day morality?
Some people will argue that a normal human is not totally corrupt and is capable of, and often does act with decency. We have to accept this as fact because the evidence is so overwhelming.
When God created man he did not leave him as an empty shell to be filled as he went along. No, not at all. God made man in the moral, spiritual and intellectual image of himself with all the proclivities for making right choices.
It has been observed, and we know this only too well from our own experience, that in the worst of persons there is some good, and even the best of us are not without faults.
How often have you heard that even a useless, broken clock is right two times every day?
Every human being has something of God in him, has some quality from God that is capable of transcending his mundane circumstances, go beyond his self interest and do something noble, even something divine.
But when a person is converted, that godly something inside inherited from Adam, that is capable of transcending self and circumstances, solidifies and becomes part of whom we are in Christ. No longer is it fleeting and ad-hoc, here one moment and gone the next, but takes root and grows and generates a boldness and self-confidence for which Christians are known.
It is only as believers transition from the old to the new, away from being babes to maturity, from just being saved to being saved and sanctified that they are capable of effortlessly stepping out of their comfort zone.
When you are sanctified and your life is hid with Christ in God, when your greatest pleasure is to do God’s will, when your life matters less than seeking God’s glory, then you are capable of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Not many believers are willing or comfortable, of stepping out of their comfort zone.
Because Paul was capable of so doing he could say, if indeed he wrote Hebrews as some think he did, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13 :6) and later asserted, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself…” (Acts 20:24)
Notice two very important requirements for stepping out of your comfort zone:
1. I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
2. Neither count I my life dear unto myself
The first Christian martyr, Stephen, could step out of his comfort zone because he did not count his life more precious that defending his faith; and we know what happened.
John the Baptist could step out of his comfort zone effortlessly because he feared no man, nor regarded his life higher than obedience to God’s command. He had to speak truth to an errant king (Mark 6:17-18) regardless of the consequences.
But stepping out of your confort zone is never easy. You have your preferences, your prejudices, your irrational fears and your intolerance; and you may see nothing wrong with having them. But whatever you may think, there are times when God absolutely requires that you step out of your comfort zone.
I recalled a time when I was conducting an evangelism outreach into a community not far from my local church. As I came to an area that was famous for drug dealing and promiscuity (things that were unknown to me), and as I turned to enter the area a prominent woman in my group said no, that we can’t go in there. Since I was in charge of the group I did enter, and behold some important, lasting work was done in that area.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, as told in Luke 10:30-37, the Levi and the Priest refused to step out of their comfort zones. On the other hand the Good Samaritan did so, with joy, and great ease; and we know how marvellously it ended.
It is unfailingly true that God requires us, at times, to step out of our comfort zone, not as an act of bravado, or to satisfy some whim, but in obedience to his will, and to witness and share our deep love of our saviour Jesus Christ. When we do, it then resonates from deep within us and gives meaning to what Jesus said, “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward’s career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
Books on Amazon:
BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)