Man’s Inhumanity to Man

Man was made to mourn: A Dirge


“Many and sharp the num’rous ills inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n-erected face, the smiles of love adorn, ‚Äì
Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!”

Robert Burns 1784 Scottish Bard


Not sure exactly who coined the phrase, perhaps it was read by Robert Burns from the writings of Samuel von Pufendorf from 1673 in The Whole Duty of Man (first published in Latin in 1673), This was among the first works to suggest a purely conventional basis for natural law. Rejecting scholasticism”s metaphysical theories, Pufendorf believed the source of natural law was to be found in humanity”s need to cultivate sociability. He wrote, “More inhumanity (to man) has been done by man himself than any other of nature’s causes.” Pufendorf was familiar to American political writers such as Alexander Hamilton James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. His political concepts are part of the cultural background of the American Revolution. Pufendorf was also seen as an important precursor of Enlightenment in Germany.

But whoever it came from, it is a perfect description of human behavior in many areas of our world today. You would have expected that since we have progressed so much intellectually, scientifically and even financially we would have learned something about how to treat our fellow man, but no! Nothing!! Our attempts at cultivating sociability have failed greatly, and apart from the downward trend to think of new ways to be more cruel and calculating in our dealings, we have really gotten worse.

Note, I mentioned financially! Yes, I do believe we are much better off financially than ever before. Many young kids are running around with iphones and ipads costing hundreds. Most western teens can go to college for further education, if they pass the necessary exams, and most drive some kind of motorized vehicle when they are still under 20 years of age!! Yes, we might live through economic crisis, but we do have a lot more than previous generations. Yet in Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

We have IS, Muslin Extremists, Communist Extremists, you name it, fighting to ethnically cleanse countries of those who don”t believe as they do. People are hounded from their homes, their jobs, their countries, family members are, burned, raped and/or brutally murdered. Those who have managed to escape with their lives are subject to terrible, horrific conditions to survive. Then to crown it all, human traffickers are taking the money they can beg or borrow for a promised passage to a new life, and deliberately throwing them overboard or killing them on the journey.

Inside our own countries, we live with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, airplane hijackings, senseless suicide bombings and university or shopping mall shootings. It seems no one who is depressed or had enough of life is content to die alone, but needs to take as many others as possible with them!

As well as all of that, we have the caste system in India, where there are so many Dalits, Untouchables who are, to their people, of absolutely no worth at all as human beings. You know, even animals don”t treat each other as bad as we humans do!

Life has become cheap. We hear of hundreds of people dying in single tragedies, and as long as it”s not on our shores, we pass it over and forget about it. What is the value of a life today? Why do we try to destroy other lives? Where did we get it so wrong?

In Galatians 5:13-14 we read, “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Personally, I believe, that we have taken this freedom we have been given as a sign, that we can do what we like with other people. Even in day-to-day life in a peaceful area, we think that we can immediately attack the character and lives of others, just because we have been hurt or because we desire to. We put importance on what we do and relegate what others are doing [and thereby the value of their lives] to a much lower and less significant position.

We have been so encouraged by psychologists and counselors to let our feelings out, that it makes us spew forth hateful comments and actions, and so undermine or even kill others. This can never be what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” With true love for another, one would talk to Jesus about our problems [imaginary or real] and instead of hurting others with our outbursts [either physical or oral], we can be cleansed of the problem by His love & mercy and grace alone.

Yes, that is certainly how the believer should behave, but is it not also a sign of our love for God and Jesus, when we spread the peace and strength that we have found in Jesus, to others. That we witness relentlessly about the “love of God” to send His own Son to die for them, that they too can experience this cleansing, and learn to love and respect their fellow man.

What does the Lord require of us? In Micah 6:8 it is clear, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

People who live according to these principles will not be killing others or hating others in their humble walk before God! This message is for everyone, we have been given the privilege to carry it to others, and no matter what they have done in their past, in John 6:35 we are told, “Jesus said to them, ‚ÄúI am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Many believers have given their lives in recent days rather than deny the Lord Jesus. We can”t solve the entire problems in the world, but we can show those around us some real love and care. We can begin with our children and teach them respect and love for other human beings and how to live with expressing our desperate feelings to God and allowing His peace to reign in their hearts. We can teach them to pray for the world and the persecuted believer. The power of prayer has stopped time on occasion, changed minds of kings and rulers and has saved many souls from Hell. By doing so, we will teach them according to Romans 13:9,where it says “For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It is impossible to want to harm those we faithfully pray for!

Leave a Reply