The “wants and needs” of human beings usually show themselves in the ways we attempt to manage everything. We naturally want to keep a tight-fisted control on our money and on our health and physical wellbeing. But for Christians, and probably for most everyone else, the worst kind of managing shows itself in our relationships with other people.
For example, this kind of managing can operate under the disguise of “concern” or “kind advice” or “help.” Our need to impose our will can also hide within the desire to organize or clean or coordinate—managing not only our own environment but everyone else’s as well! Even timidity and false humility can become unwitting tools to manipulate others for our own purposes.
I find it interesting, for example, that Peter was actually trying to control Jesus (perhaps out of fear for his own dignity) when he said, “No, you shall never wash my feet” (NIV John 13:8-9). And at another time when Jesus was predicting his crucifixion, Peter said, “Never Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Jesus corrected Peter sharply, telling him that he did “not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (NIV Matt. 16:22-23). Things were going to change—no matter how much Peter didn’t want that to happen.
And change is going to happen to us and to those around us. I had to fall flat on my face before I learned to let go, to release my hold on what I perceived my life to be and my “human concerns.” And I’m still no expert at doing so. Now, however, when I’m struggling in relationships with others, I usually can more quickly abandon my intentions—what I think or what I want. “They’re yours, Lord. You take them. And while you’re at it, take me too.”
Recall, too, simple truths, The ones you know I love, Sweet bits of inspiration That filter from above.
Above the earth’s dark clouds That hover, oh, so near, With natural wants and needs, Not what my heart holds dear. (Living Calm 2016)