The Light vs Dark Side of Human Nature: What Makes a Person Good?
Our topic today is one that we could discuss for weeks, months, or years without coming close to being comprehensive, so first of all, you must forgive my omissions for the sake of brevity. By and large, I believe the answer is three things: first is relationships, second is what is in you, and last is what you choose for yourself today. Let’s go through them one-by-one.
Every problem, and for that matter every success, ultimately boils down to a relationship. I believe this is the case 100 percent of the time, without exception. Now, you may not always be aware of what the relationship is, it could be a generational one passed down genetically through hundreds of years, or something you rationalized as being okay even though in your heart, you knew it wasn’t.
For example, when I was little I noticed pretty quickly that even if everything else in my life was great, I never felt okay if I was crossways with my mom, dad, brother, friend, or really anyone significant to me. I couldn’t find peace until I made it right—it’s a huge tragedy to me that so many people go through their lives this way. On the other hand, I found that if my relationships were going well, I felt alright even if lots of other things were going poorly. This is a universal truth. If all of your relationships are right on your end—of course, you can’t control what other people do—you can and nearly always will be alright, no matter your other circumstances. If you make millions of dollars, if you are famous, if you are hugely succesful or revered, but are not right in your life’s critical relationships, I can tell you right now that you will not have internal peace. The control mechanism for our mind and body is keyed to love vs fear, there is no love without relationships, and no fear in the presence of love.
The second step is the one that changed my life forever. It was the first domino in the chain reaction that led me to where I am today—not perfect, but happier than I ever dreamed I could be. My proof text for this step comes from the apostle Paul in Romans 8, where he writes that “when I do what I don’t want to do and do what I don’t want to do, it’s not me doing it.” Translation: it’s in you, but it’s not part of you, kind of like a splinter. You would never say, “I am a splinter,” you would say, “there’s a splinter in me.” When you take ownership of a thought, feeling, or unwanted behavior, you are believing the lie that it is a part of you, which can’t help but trash your identity and worth.
On the other hand, I’ve never known anybody that berated themselves over and over in a continuing, significant way because they got a splinter in their finger. They had temporary angst, pulled it out, and never thought of it again. Taking ownership of wrongs or treating them like a splinter makes a monstrous difference, but this difference can only be fully realized through a right relationship with God, because you need both grace and justice, not just one.
Now, there have been a number of recent studies indicating more and more strongly that we don’t really have free will. One in particular, cited in a special edition of National Geographic found that 1 second before any significant decision, there’s a spike of electrical activity in the brain, which is the unconscious mind mandating the decision. While I believe the studies are accurate, I also believe that we do have free will every single day. One of my favorite preachers put it this way, “About all I have the strength and power to do is decide who’s going to get me,” in this case, love or fear. Every day, you have the free willed choice to choose love or fear, what’s in it for me, or win-win-win, seek pleasure and avoid pain, or love in the present moment regardless of the end results.
I believe that this choice, along with being right with God, is literally the reason we’re here. This life, you may think of as the most elaborate and long-running possible test in the world. Given the chance, will you choose love or fear? It is a daily, even hourly choice, and once you topple that domino, the next falls automatically, without your consent and often even against it. Without making this choice, the first two steps can’t help you, because it is this choice that enables you to maintain good relationships and believe the truth about what and hwo you are. You may be in a place right now like my wife, Hope was for 12 years, where what is inside of you is so negative and dark that you are literally unable to choose love. For that, I would recommend Memory Engineering, which is a proven process for changing that internal ratio that took me thirty years to develop. I would also recommend the Love Code teachings that you can find for free at thelovecodenow.com. These explain all of this much more fully and allow you to ease into the water and start choosing appropriately.
The most tragic thing to me is that most of the people teaching about this issue don’t teach any of these three things. Instead, they teach you to change your behaviors, change your thoughts, change your emotions or the physiology of your body. While none of these things are bad and I would even recommend some, they are all symptoms. Unless you deal with the source, you’ll be dealing with them for the rest of your life. But deal with the source, and you’ll find yourself free and clear.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
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