People—What Makes Them “Tick”?
People do good deeds and they do bad ones. They are a mixture of both good and bad. Many times they are on target and many times they miss the mark. They are contradictory, both bitter and sweet. Why? What makes them this way? What, really, makes people “tick”? This series on PEOPLE seeks the answer.
WHY does a man walk in one day and shoot his wife and four children? Why does another man spend his life laboring to care for his family?
One person lives a life of service to mankind, while another makes a career of crime and violence. One gives generously to alleviate suffering; another hoards wealth and creates pain and misery. Some give to the poor, whereas others blame the poor for their poverty. One group finds joy in building and creating. Others derive vengeful delight from senseless vandalism. Why do different people act so differently?
Moreover, why can the same person at times be so kind and loving, and at other times be so cruel? He may use his knowledge and the power it brings to do good for humanity, then turn around and use this same knowledge to make bombs to blow women and children to bits. Some may feel sorrow afterward, while others feel nothing. Why this inner conflict, this war between flesh and spirit, this condition in man as though he were a house divided against itself? Is it inherited? Is it due to the environment? Are there unsatisfied needs within people that propel them toward evildoing? And if these needs are met, does it enable them to do the good they may wish to do?
The apostle Paul wrote about this inner conflict: “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. My inner being delights in the law of God. But I see a different law at work in my body—a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of.”—Rom. 7:15, 19, 22, 23, Good News Bible.
James, a brother of Jesus, wrote of the contradictions within people: “The tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison. With it we bless Jehovah, even the Father, and yet with it we curse men who have come into existence ‘in the likeness of God.’ Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. It is not proper, my brothers, for these things to go on occurring this way.”—Jas. 3:8-10.
Note the statement about coming into existence “in the likeness of God.” What does it mean? Is it the key to answering the question, What makes people tick?