There was something that Pope Francis said a while ago, something like, “You can’t be human alone. You need others to be human with you.” That stuck with me. Isn’t that what many seek, someone to be human with? Isn’t that why we read stories? In the pages we find people who aren’t too frightened to love. Who aren’t afraid to be human.
The world often seems filled with cruel manipulations, thoughtless, uncaring people so removed from the human condition that you have to attempt to explain to them what it’s like to feel. You can’t. You can’t break down what being human is. What it’s like to see someone you care about sick, ageing or dying and feel their pain and the ache inside you that demands you do something, or at least be there for them in whatever way you can.
You can’t explain to someone what loyalty is, or the pain of betrayal, or how much a broken heart hurts. You can’t quantify and qualify mercy or compassion or what it’s like to be alive on an emotional level. You simply can’t. If you get angry or upset when watching the news because of all the pain and needless suffering that people inflict on people; if all the indifference makes you feel a little ill and someone doesn’t get it because, hey, it doesn’t affect you directly so who cares? Or that sometimes you need to find a way to laugh at it all, because if you don't laugh it will break you, only to be condemned for being inappropriate. You can’t explain what it’s like to be human.
I heard once that Jesus (who was Jewish, btw) didn’t come to teach us how to be gods; he came to show us how to be human. That so many misuse his teachings to remove themselves from their own humanity, and sit in the seat of judgement, is a discussion for another day. But, maybe, Jesus let himself be tortured and brutalised so horrendously in hopes to shock us into caring, to touch our heart and make us appalled by our own brutality, disturbed that people could do this to someone who did nothing but preach love and kindness, give out free health care, feed the poor and demand a more equal sharing of wealth; and say that we should treat each other with the same respect we want for ourselves.
As the story goes, God so loved the world that he gave his only son. If we were a little more human, we never would have killed him—or so many others since. The sacrifice would have been unnecessary. He died for our sins and our sins were fear and indifference.