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The Cause and Cure of Human Struggle
The Redemption of Paradoxical Man
Why God Pre-Programmed People Genetically to Experience Paradoxes
In His creation of humans, people were made to experience an alternate mental reality that was activated by the forbidden fruit that Adam’s and Eve consumed. Because the fruit changed the genetics of the human brain giving it the ability to detect threats, harm and evil, this feature of thinking proved to serve as a means of limiting harm and evil and to be self-correcting to some degree.
Guilt, Remorse and Self-Correction
Due to the human bipolar view of the world that categorizes all of life experiences into shades of good or bad, this fact in itself causes people to correct themselves voluntarily. Frequently, when someone does something to offend another person and the offended person lets them know that they have been harmed, the subsequent pain of knowing that harm was created for another person normally causes the offender to feel pain themselves due to self-judgment. This negative self-judgment, which results in the pain of guilt and remorse many times results in changes of behavior. In this way, people become self-correcting. In essence, post-Fall humans place themselves into a mental paradox where they judge whether their own behaviors were good or bad. Again, once they feel the mental pain of assessing their own failures as bad, this normally results in a change of behavior. Because the ability for self-judgment was the result of a genetic change in Adam and Eve, that change was imparted to their prodigy which includes all subsequent generations that have followed them. Genetic redemption of paradoxical man happens simply when a person’s own conscience convicts them of wrongdoing. While present in most humans, this does not always hold true. There are people who do not experience remorse for bad behaviors. While negative self-judgment often translates into more prosocial behaviors, which is often accompanied by an apology, that does not mean that the injury has been erased. Additional measures must be taken in order to rectify the harm that has happened. Restitution is an important component toward reconciliation and redemption of interpersonal relationships.
As a consequence of the recognition of being harmed and of harming others that results in changes of behavior, this constitutes growth toward becoming healthier, kinder and more compassionate people. The pain of guilt and remorse, along with realizing that the world is not entirely safe, moves both offender and offended toward a consciousness of harm which helps both restrain themselves in deference to seeking healthier/safer relationships. This is how James is able to say in chapter one verses two through twelve:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance
finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of
you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the
one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person
should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded
[paradoxical and incongruent] and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble
circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in
their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with
scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the
same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the
one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the
crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James helps us to realize that our tumultuous interpersonal challenges, that sweep us up into a vortex frenzy of emotion and confusion are actually transforming and growing us, which helps us to not fight them so hard. In fact, in may cases, especially when we are in the wrong with someone, seeing that we can grow in these trials and tribulations can help us to embrace a change within ourselves.
Essentially, the person creating harm and the person being harmed are faced with a paradox. For the one creating harm, they must choose either to gain something from the victim or harm the victim in order to avoid something negative they do not want from them. The one being harmed must choose (within a mere 1/16th of a second) how they will react to being harmed. They must decide whether to escape from the person, fight back or reason with them. Growth happens for the victim when they choose to become more skillful at dealing with the threat. Sometimes they may regress to more archaic or childlike ways of interacting with difficult people. Likewise, the one who has created harm is faced with a corresponding paradox. Their choice is whether their guilt and remorse will cause them to be too embarrassed to approach the one they hurt or avoid being in the presence of the person they have harmed. They also have a choice as to whether they will advance or regress in their skill of interacting with others. In His magnificent omniscience, God knew all of this in advance and provided a means for both victim and perpetrator to keep their relationship intact. It is the second half of the Gospel Message that is rarely told and one that will be addressed in the next section entitled US-40.
Holy Spirit Guidance
While self-correction of one’s behaviors can help a person grow and improve their ability to be in relationship with others, self-correction has one unfortunate drawback which God does not solely rely on. The unfortunate drawback is that improvement and personal growth through self-correction comes after the fact of real harm to someone. What must He do to rectify that? Instead of relying on harm to change and grow humans, the better thing would be to develop prosocial attitudes and behaviors before anyone could be harmed. Because God created humans with this reality, He has also recognized His responsibility as Creator. While God does not cause people to act selfishly in ways they want to get things they think are good, nor does He cause humans to act selfishly and eliminate things that they think are bad, He does accept His responsibility for having created humans with this capacity. He recognized that He would have to do two things in order to rectify this problem.
The first thing was to provide the Holy Spirit whose job is to help inform people of potential harm before they act on it. The Holy Spirit also attempts to guide people to pursue the good things they should do to be loving and to help others. In other words, the Holy Spirit attempts to help people restrict destructive behaviors while promoting prosocial behaviors. The Holy Spirit tries to help us get along with each other. First Corinthians 12:31 states: “And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” Theoretically, the Holy Spirit must have been sent otherwise people would destroy all of their relationships before they would have acquired enough skill to restrain themselves and learn their lesson of self-correction through the pain of their guilt. If God did not send us the Holy Spirit to help restrain unbridled human passions, then he could be accused of neglect of His children and of not caring for His creation. Which if true, could let some people off the hook at the Judgment by thus implying that God was okay with any and all behavior. Indeed, John informs us in chapter 16 verse 8 that it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the world according to sin and righteousness. This is especially important for those who have never heard the Ten Commandments or been exposed to the Gospel message. But because God did send the Holy Spirit to come alongside and help us in facing interpersonal challenges, we are then enabled to cultivate the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22 which include peace, patience, kindness goodness and self-control. The second responsibility that God recognized, from having created humans with the capacity for sin, will be talked about in the next section entitled US-40, which is the second part of the Gospel message.
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The Redemption of Paradoxical Man Page
Mikel Kelly, MA, LMHC
The Vortex Model
Of Human Growth &
“Whether we call them challenges, crises, or conflicts, the trek to adulthood is difficult because the path is strewn with obstacles.” And, “Each life takes on a myriad of twists and turns.”
— Developmental Psychologists Robert
Kail & John Cavanaugh
Vortex Model of Development
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 Human Development: A Lifespan View, 2nd edition, Robert V. Kail & John C. Cavanaugh, 2000, United States, Wadsworth. (p. 18).