I heard an interesting quote recently. I don’t know whom to attribute it to, but it went something like this: “The primary driver for human behavior is desire, not knowledge.” At first glance, this statement is interesting but relatively tame, and not particularly disagreeable. Do you believe it? Does it matter?
If you begin to type in “love your….” on a google search your top hit will be “love yourself”. I suppose that speaks to the times we live in. You must almost type in the whole phrase for “love your enemies” to show up. I’ll take that to mean Jesus’ charge to us in the Sermon on the Mount is slightly less tame and somewhat more disagreeable. Jesus continued his statement with “pray for those who persecute you.” Tame, or not so tame? Agreeable, or disagreeable?
When I read the sermon on the Mount, or hear a message on it, I’m deeply challenged and motivated by it. No, it is not tame, but oh do I agree with it. In it God is giving us a certificate of freedom and a roadmap to change the world. I can just envision what a difference it would make in my life and in the world if I would just put Jesus’ words into practice.
But then life comes at you. In fact, I’ve found myself in an ongoing set of circumstances (details shared privately if you are interested) in which I still believe Jesus’ words to be true, but my primary impulse to act goes in the opposite direction. Outbursts of anger, threats, “prayers” for “justice” (think retaliation and harm to my enemies) are my daily bread. I’m nowhere close to wishing my enemy well.
But I was so motivated when I heard the message on the Sermon on the Mount. It really touched me. And I can still feel the power in Jesus’ words. Maybe I should just try harder?
Now go back and reread my opening quote. Could it be the case that I was primarily motivated at the level of knowledge, but not at the level of desire…?