Is Man Basically Good?

Over the past few days I (Amanda) have been thinking a lot about human nature.

One of my biggest struggles living in Papua New Guinea is understanding the ways of their culture. There is so much retaliation and retribution. But when I take a good look at my own country, other countries or even people in the Bible I see a similar pattern. There is so much cruelty and hatred from one person to another. We always talk about extreme cases like the Holocaust, child soldiers in parts of Africa, and racism during the Civil Rights movement – but what about our day to day interactions with each other?

Last night, Alan and I were watching the movie Blood Diamond and in it the main character says, “Sometimes I wonder if God will ever forgive us for what we have done to each other…” Not only forgive us but when does He intervene? What is the purpose of allowing all this to happen?


I took a closer look at myself. How often do I see someone who looks different – pink hair, walks funny, has different opinions, and judge them in my mind? Or maybe I will walk a little farther away from them. Sit somewhere else.

“What’s wrong with them?” I’ll think, “I’m glad I’m not like him?” I do it sometimes without realizing what I’m doing.

How do we fall into this way of life and thinking so quickly? Man is NOT basically good… this is why we need a perfect God, a God of grace and forgiveness. We need someone who is ALL loving and ALL caring. We need to follow Him and desire to live life like he desires us to.

When we hear about terrible cruelty in the world we should reevaluate ourselves. We are not above them, we just haven’t gotten that far yet. With the Lord’s help, we won’t.

Obviously I haven’t figured out all the answers to these questions. What are your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Is Man Basically Good?

  1. 1) Everything in the news right now has been making me think the same things.
    2) I love the new ‘gladly, beyond’ design! :)

  2. I’ve been thinking about the same things lately! And really studying up on true grace and how ALL of us need it because we are ALL wicked in our human nature, and without the grace of God that’s the only thing we’d see in each other.

  3. You are right about our needing to reevaluate ourselves. When I was much younger I thought those who did terrible things were made of different stuff than I was. How wrong and how dangerous to think that way. We have a common enemy and a sinful nature in common. We are at war! James 4&5 reminded me this morning that prayer is warfare and praying effectively is serious business. I’m guilty of silly, flippant, casual prayer. What if prayed more and judged less? Ouch! Thanks for that kick this morning Alan. Glad to have you stateside for a while.

  4. Thanks for responding ladies! I appreciate your ideas and your thoughts. I guess we all have to wrestle with these things at some point.

  5. (Followed you over from Wulff Where Abouts :-)) I like that movie enough to have bought it from the cheap bin, but I haven’t actually watched it again since I bought it because it is too hard… it makes me cry, because of the horrible things we humans to do each other, because of the injustice in the world, because of the ending. And I agree with Helen, part of growing up has been to realize that even though I came from a good Christian background, without God’s grace and work in my life, I have just as much capacity for evil as the people who do those things. And that those people are just as worth being saved by God as I am. It’s a hard thing to wrap my head around sometimes, though.


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