One of the inevitable things in life is that people do and seemingly will always do crazy stuff. And unfortunately the craziness will often affect your life. If people would go privately mad and leave you out of it you may not mind quite so much right? Problem is those people going mad are your friends, spouses, relatives, inhabitants of your world whose sanity affects your equanimity. Let’s not forget your boss, your colleagues at work, your congregation, perhaps even the stranger on the train, not to talk of the very fastidious people who sit behind desks in government offices seemingly intent on pushing you over the emotional cliff.
For instance, as a spiritual leader you have no doubt had occasion to be reviled by the very people you were pouring your life out to help, as a brother you have been misunderstood and criticized, as a mother a child’s disobedience has cost you dearly, at work you have been unjustly vilified, elsewhere a perfect stranger has sworn at you for no reason, an obtuse clerk has held up your dossier for months and deprived you of some advantage or other, the list is endless.
As you have guessed this is a very serious article about the equally serious business of keeping your sanity and your joy in the midst of the unpredictability and irascibility of human behavior. And to so do, I am convinced we need a sound theology of sin, of the fallenness of man and of the power of redemption. Fallenness explains our general stupidity and insensitivity to matters of honour, truth, purity and faithfulness and continuous recourse to expediency and evil mongering, even in the best of families.
Redemption is the door to transformation as God takes a regenerated spirit and works on fashioning the soul such that the mind, the will and the emotions will emulate God rather than the devil, do good rather than evil, bless rather than curse, honour rather than dishonor. One just wished it was as instant a process as regeneration, but it is not, as any church leader knows from experience. All have fallen, not all have been redeemed and not all the redeemed have been transformed. Consequently all still do unbelievable stupid stuff that sends minor tremors through our world.
Jesus gave us the key to dealing with the hardness of heart and / or temporary insanity that in a nasty look, a foul word, plotted evil, prolonged confrontation wreak havoc upon our peace and joy. He made this astounding statement concerning his enemies at the worst moment of his human existence ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing’. They don’t truly realise what they are doing. The are in cahoots with the devil, killing the Lord of life and they don’t have a clue. Yes, life would be much simpler if everyone behaved themselves; however everyone never does. Sometimes people just don’t have a clue. The cause? Fallenness. The response? Forgiveness. The outcome? As surely as the sun rises daily, the peace and joy of the Lord.