Bob Tamasy: The ‘Born That Way’ Dilemma

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Imagine a young man talking with his fianceé as the wedding day approaches and informing her, “Hey, babe, I really love you, and I don’t want you to hear this the wrong way, but there’s something you need to know. Every night I spend about an hour looking at pornography online. I hope you’re okay with that – it’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. Guess I was just born that way.”

How do you think the bride-to-be should respond?

Or consider a woman caught in an adulterous affair outside of her marriage. Her husband, who’s been completely faithful to her, feels devastated. Remorsefully, the wife looks at her husband and says, “Honey, please don’t take this personally. I love you, but I’ve never been a one-man kind of woman. I think our marriage is great, but sometimes, you know, I enjoy the company of other men. Sorry, but I suppose I was just born that way.”

Does that make sense?

We could think of other scenarios: A compulsive gossip; someone given to uncontrollable fits of anger; a person consumed with jealousy over the professional success of coworkers; an individual caught up with envy (what the Bible calls “coveting”) over a friend’s much bigger, far more expensive house or luxury car; an able-bodied man with no initiative who refuses to seek a job; someone whose pattern of dishonesty makes it virtually impossible to know if or when he’s telling the truth.

Should we give any of them a pass when they offer the excuse, “I was born that way”?

Frankly, every one of us could use that rationale to explain objectionable behavior. After all, the Bible says, Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). This doesn’t mean the sexual act that resulted in conception was wrong. It’s stating just as parents pass along genetic heredity to their children, resulting in specific physical characteristics and traits, from the beginning of time mankind also has passed on the “sin gene” from generation to generation.

Any parent knows you don’t have to teach children to become selfish. They are born that way.

Certain people are predisposed toward diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity or alcoholism. While others are never troubled by such problems, these individuals must deal with them for much of their lives. Perhaps it’s true they were “born that way.” Should we therefore refuse to offer help or support in their desire to overcome these besetting challenges?

The vast majority of men find themselves confronting lustful thoughts, often sparked by a casual glance. They see an attractive woman, whether in a mall, on a beach, or even in church, and suddenly find themselves entertaining inappropriate thoughts about that person. Since most men are “born this way,” prone to visual provocation, does this mean it’s to be approved of, condoned, even applauded?

We could make similar observations about women, but the point is when it comes to sin – a word the Bible often uses, and which many in society would like to eradicate – we all have been “born that way” in one respect or another. As Romans 3:10 declares, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Later the Bible asserts, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Being unique, we all have our own assortment of pet sins and weaknesses. Our spiritual predisposition, from birth, is toward spiritual brokenness in one respect or another. So it troubles us to read passages like Philippians 2:3-4 that admonish, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” We want to respond, “Are you kidding me? If we don’t look out for ourselves, our own best interests, who will? Besides, I can’t help it.”

The fact is, areas of sin that afflict each of us – behaviors we’d like to shrug off and defend with, “I was born that way” – often are beyond our capacity to change. Old habits die hard, as the saying goes. But the good news, it’s not up to us alone to make the changes.

Jesus told His followers, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the apostle Paul – who understood human struggles as well as any – wrote with confidence, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

So whatever it is we’re wrestling with, seemingly overwhelming problems that just won’t go away, there’s hope. Hope in the life-changing, transforming power of Jesus Christ. The cliché might sound trite, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Sometimes it just requires willingness to “let go – and let God.”

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Pastor John R. Andrus To Celebrate 90th Birthday

The Reverend John R. Andrus will celebrate his 90th birthday on  March 3 . He served for 31 years in the pastorate of Chattanooga's First Church of the Nazarene.  Pastor Andrus is known for his Biblical ministry, hearty laughter, frugal lifestyle, and his deep devotion to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After retiring in 1993 the congregation named him Pastor Emeritus. ... (click for more)

Go Red Heart Healthy Event Held At Olivet Baptist Church

The Olivet Baptist Church Health and Nursing Ministry observed a Go Red Heart Healthy Event, which was a health campaign focusing on heart disease and stroke prevention awareness in women. Dr. Shavonda Thomas, MD, an internal medicine and preventive medicine specialist, was the keynote speaker. (click for more)

1 Dead, Another Injured In Shooting On Carousel Road

One man was shot and killed and another man injured in a shooting on Carousel Road lateTuesday afternoon. The incident happened around 5:25 p.m. One man was dead at the scene, and the other was taken to a hospital. Carousal Road is off Greenwood Road in a neighborhood behind Taylor Funeral Home on Wilcox Boulevard. (click for more)

City Council Approves TIF For Extension Of MLK Boulevard To The Riverwalk

The City Council voted Tuesday to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to extend MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the Blue Goose Hollow Trailhead at the Riverwalk. The agreement is with Evergreen Real Estate of Nashville to build the extension across property it has already begun to develop at the site across from the old Newton Chevrolet and Kelly Subaru. The developer ... (click for more)

MLK Boulevard TIF Is A Public Scam From People You Should be Able To Trust

TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing) were created to allow cities to do projects they cannot afford.  A TIF project also allows various private construction costs to be subsidized by sequestered  future  property taxes that normally would go into the general fund for running a city. It’s credit card spending with a new fancy name. Politicians love it because it sounds ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Principal’s Reaction

On the morning after the mass shooting in Florida last week, a 17-year-old at Ledyard High School in Connecticut made an offhand comment during his first period class, “I could buy an AR-15.” At that, all the teachers panicked. Really. The school was soon so rattled by the comment the principal called the cops. And those five words got the child shackled, taken into custody, and ... (click for more)