What Makes Some Christians So Crazy?


What Makes Some Christians So Crazy? | Elizabeth Evans Hagan, Compassion, Love

Loving others is always our calling – even when we don't agree theologically, even when we don't always understand one another, even when we get on each other's nerves, Hagan writes.
When is the last time you encountered a person of faith, in particular a Christian, who was engaging in particular activities one might call "crazy"?

I know I've met my share of over-the-top, loving kind of Christians through the years being in church as long as I have.

I've met Christians who follow Jesus to the degree in which they decide to sell their homes and pack up their things and move across the world – to Third World nations, sometimes even – to share hope in medical supplies, food and friendship with some of the world's most discouraged and broken people.

They do so citing, "God has called me to show Christ's love."

I've met Christians who follow Jesus to the degree in which they open up rooms in their home to internationals, struggling single mothers or exhausted college students – even when the person has no means to financially repay their kindness and nurture them back on their feet again.

They do so citing, "God has called me to show Christ's love."

I've met Christians who follow Jesus to the degree that they'll spend hours of their free time making hospital visits to the terminally ill without family attending – bringing a compassionate touch of support to those who would not otherwise have any.

They do so citing, "God has called me to show Christ's love."

I've met Christians who follow Jesus to the degree that they ask their own young children to go without that desired toy at Christmas so that instead the money can be used to buy toys, clothes and other household items for families in their neighborhood who have recently lost everything in a destructive fire.

They do so citing, "God has called me to me show Christ's love."

I've also met Christians who follow Jesus to the degree that they stop everything they are doing when they learn a member of their church has experienced a death in the family. Soon piles and piles of mac and cheese, broccoli chicken casserole and hearty soups are delivered to the home of the grieving just in case they get hungry.

They do so citing, "God has called me to show Christ's love."

Christians can be crazy people, can't they, doing the behind-the-scenes work of compassionate deeds, sacrificial giving and life-giving hospitality that others in the world might find to be foolish, a waste of resources or just plain dumb.

But truly, Christians act, or seek to act, in love because of the life and witness of Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:16-18 lays it out clearly for us here:

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

As followers of Christ, our hearts are full of compassion for others in the same way that we know God has been compassionate toward us.

So, while Christians don't have a market on this whole "loving deeds" business (a tenet of people of all world religions), we certainly are people who can't avoid it.

We can't say that loving each other is some humanistic talk without spiritual value to Jesus. We can't boil our faith down to a commitment we made years ago with no evidence of it in our daily life.

Just as Christ loved us and taught us how to love, we are to love one another.

I'm proud to be a member and a pastor of a church that is about the "crazy" business of loving each other and any who would come in our doors.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a group of homeless teens came to worship, and I was so proud of how everyone responded to make them feel at home.

Just yesterday, we all piled our resources together and hosted a lunch for a family who recently lost their loved ones. Countless other examples could be given.

Loving others is always our calling – even when we don't agree theologically, even when we don't always understand one another, even when we get on each other's nerves.

We can still love. We can always love. And if they call us crazy for doing so, then this makes Jesus crazy too, and we'd be in good company.

Elizabeth Evans Hagan is pastor of Washington Plaza Baptist Church in Reston, Va. She regularly blogs about the art of pastoring at Preacher on the Plaza.

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Tags: Compassion, Elizabeth Evans Hagan, Love