This morning as a drove into the parking lot at work the song “Crazy Enough” by MercyMe was playing in my car, and the flags in front of our building were still flying at half mast because of the Saturday shooting in Arizona. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I started thinking about what kind of post this could inspire.
It seems this world has gone a little crazy. A man shoots a congresswoman and many in the crowd around her, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl. And that’s just one day’s news. The story made the news because it involved a public figure and occurred in a crowd. But people are killed, children are abused, spouses are battered, and worse every day without generating headlines.
I was surprised by some of the reactions to the Arizona shooting. One of my Facebook friends posted a link to the article, and one of her friends commented, “The chickens of this FOX, Tea Party lunacy are starting to come home to roost.” Really? I wondered whether this person saw the irony of their own contempt for those with political or ideological beliefs different from their own that are contained within that statement. What is the point of blaming the outrageous crime of one clearly disturbed individual on a group of people with different beliefs, without even knowing if he belonged to that group? But that seems to be the state of our world today; on all sides of the many political, ideological, and religious fences that divide us there is contempt and hatred. The world seems to have gone crazy.
Or maybe it has not yet gone crazy enough? Maybe we should take a cue from MercyMe, and one by one try this insane approach:
Call me crazy but what if we learn
To love our brother for nothing in return?
Oh how the rules would change
Reaching out to the ones who need help
Treating them as you first would treat yourself
Now that would be insane
It may just be crazy enough
To work if we could only love
What if we somehow changed the world?
It may just be crazy enough
It is a crazy idea, but it’s not new. Loving others, even those who think differently than we do, was taught by Christ in His sermon on the mount. After all the beatitudes and teachings about the law, adultery, divorce, and anger, Jesus said:
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48.
If you are a liberal Democrat and you are kind only to other liberal Democrats, what good does that do for the world? If you are a conservative Republican and you are kind only to other conservative Republicans, how are you helping make the world a better place? If you are a Christian, but you speak ill of atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and even Christians in other denominations, and do not love them as God does, what good are you doing for the Kingdom of God?
I can’t change how other people act, what they say, or how they treat those who are different from them. But I can try to implement a crazy idea and show love and kindness to others regardless of whether I agree with them. I can endeavor to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20. I can pray and ask God to help me share His love with the world, even those in the world who seem so unloveable.
Call me crazy, but if enough people were determined to implement this crazy plan, maybe we could change the world. If not the world, maybe the life of at least one other person who is reeling from the tragedy and hatred all around them. Will you be crazy with me? If you will, then that’s at least two other people we can impact together.