2013-10-16 - Crazy is Relative
If I were to mention Columbine 1999, VA Tech 2007, Chicagos Cornell Square Park 2013, Washington Navy Yard 2013, Sandy Hooker Elementary 2012, or Kenya Mall 2013 there would likely be one or more of these that would bring a story to your mind. Perhaps some of the things that would come to mind are: violence, sadness, loss, confusion, mental imbalance, and ultimately grief. And unfortunately, there are many more stories, similar to these, that happen within our country all the time. Many other tragic tales only make local news, and many others dont make the news at all, yet there is a pattern of behavior that is the result of evil in this world, that cannot be denied. The part of the picture that we most often see is who is responsible. There is some explanation of the persons life, and why the end result was tragedy, although its not personal to us. But it is personal to someone. However, as a society we search for someone to blame and someone to punish. Then justice has been served, and for all intents and purposes, we are then finished with it. Unfortunately, not everyone can distance themselves from these type of things, or see them the same.
I was 8 years old, and it was Current Events Day at school. Every week, we brought in a current event to share with the class. If youve ever had to be part of something like this, you know that much of the time no one really ever hears much of what the others are saying, as they await their turn to present theirs to the class. Generally speaking, on this particular day, I was not the exception. Although at a certain point, I remember tuning in to the words coming out of a classmates mouth, and now I have no idea what current event I brought that day. I was a kid who wasnt interested in drawing attention to me, and so feeling the need to stand up in the middle of someone elses presentation was unusual, but I did it. As I heard the words This crazy lady killed her family and then herself, I remember feeling the blood rush through my body, and this sick feeling coming over me. I stood up and replied to the boy, That crazy lady was my aunt!! I just stood there, as the room fell so silent, you could have heard a pin drop. Our teacher stood up and said, Im so sorry for your loss. Lets move to the next person, please. I have no idea what happened the rest of that day, but I do know it changed how I view things - for a lifetime.
Society has portrayed this view of evil as if it belongs to everyone else, and its not personal, because not everyone is evil like those people in the headlines. Well, were all imperfect. And yes, there are some crimes that are far more disturbing than others. Yet there is a common thread, and its called sin. It makes us the same, and it makes us different. As long as we can keep the ugly things at a distance, that are the result of other people and not ourselves, I suppose we can feel safer somehow. But what about when we cant separate ourselves from it, because someone in our own world is one of those headlines? The story from my classmates current event came from the local paper, the front page. For most people its something talked about for a few days or a week, and then it gets filed it into someone elses problem and called a sad or sick occurrence.
What was it like for my family? Well, my aunts and uncles house became a crime scene for awhile, until it was determined that the person they would charge for it was also dead. Next, it was a home, where once my Mom celebrated birthdays with her brother and nephew, turned into just a building she helped clean up, to sell after they had died. It resulted in a very disturbing discussion one evening at our home with the grown children, who were not in the house when everything happened. It was also a topic of discussion amongst our family, just about every time we got together for the next several occasions. And as a kid, you hear things and process them differently, which for me meant in the form of a recurring nightmare for quite awhile. So when something happens thats similar in the world around me, and makes the news, I have an entirely different view of it now. I can see parts of it that others may never think of, and chances are, most everyone will experience at least one thing in their life that was once someone elses problem. And if we truly follow Christ, then we cannot continue to separate ourselves from every unkind or disturbing thing that takes place, without thinking about the people involved. Our Father in Heaven took sin pretty seriously, and so personally that He made a way for us to be spiritually set free from it. He grafted us all into the same family, and gave us the choice to be part of it, even the crazy ones. He promised that there would be no more sin and tears when he returned. Until then, we have to try to connect to those around us who are hurting. Were supposed to make it personal. Otherwise what are we here for?
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Is 53:5 NIV)