It’s Human Nature
Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34
The other day, my son showed me a humorous video reenactment of a conversation between God and Gabriel at creation. At one point in the video, Gabriel suggests that God make healthy food taste good and unhealthy food taste bad. In response, God just stares blankly at Gabriel, indicating that this isn’t the plan.
It’s funny in the video, but in real life, I’ve not found it as amusing. Often, I’ve been frustrated by my appetites. God, if you want me to follow your way, why do you make my way so desirable? Why did you make bad feel so good?
It’s simply a frustrating reality that often, those things which make us miserable later, are so appealing right now. This is the principle that Jesus taught in today’s passage, where he told the Pharisees that anyone who practices sin becomes enslaved to it.
This is our nature and it is the nature of sin. When we see something we desire (a donut, pornography, gambling, drugs) and we indulge in it, our brains are flooded with pleasurable neurotransmitters. But this doesn’t last. Once the euphoria is gone, we hunger to repeat the experience. Through repetitive pursuit of immediate gratification, our brain becomes rewired to behave in a certain way. This is addiction. Then, despite growing consequences (weight gain, destroyed marriages, lost jobs) we find we cannot stop. We practiced sin and we became enslaved to it. This is our nature.
Of course, we think we can handle it at first. We think we can have just one, without suffering any consequences. I’ve tried to have just one chip, but once I open the bag, it’s over. I’ve heard many alcoholics talk about how they could have just one beer with no consequences, but just one beer never lasts long.
To be sure, there are those who teach that this passage applies only to those who don’t believe in Christ, but this isn’t just about nonbelievers. This applies even to those of us who call ourselves Christians. If we repeatedly engage in addictive behaviors, we will become addicted. This is our human nature and it is the terrible, destructive nature of sin. We may believe in God and we may be eternally forgiven, but sin still has horrific consequences.