Choosing the Right Kind of Crazy

Most people have done things they look back upon and view as a bit wacky. “What was I thinking?” Sometimes they were done for love. Sometimes they were done to relieve boredom. Sometimes they were done for the thrill and attention. And sometimes they were done because of personal convictions. Then there are the things done that are downright insane with potential life-threatening consequences.

  • A stuntman named Freddy Nock is known for walking on tight ropes over mountain gorges, often on an upward slope without safeguards.
  • Skydiver, Luke Aikins, jumped from 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) without a parachute in 2016, landing in a giant net and setting a world record. Yes, he could have easily missed the net.
  • Then there’s a man named Amou Haji from Iran who hasn’t showered in more than 60 years. He believes that bathing will make him sick. And, of course, he doesn’t live with anybody.*

It Makes Sense to Me

Interestingly, every one of these and others that have done or are doing things considered weird or “off the deep end,” believe they have “good” reasons for their actions. That which is seen as reasonable, justifiable, and positive is always determined according to an individual’s values and worldview. Amou, the non-bather, has explained the reasoning behind his position. He got quite sick after taking a bath when he was young. Because he values feeling well, it logically followed in his mind to never wash himself again.

The same idea can be applied to how a society or an entire generation thinks. Common thought processes and unique patterns of logic develop in groups that make sense to the members but many times not to “outsiders.” We often look back in history and negatively judge people for their stupid actions or beliefs. But many individuals we think of as nutty or deranged were actually quite intelligent, maybe even more so than us. It’s the way they viewed the world, understood reality, and determined values that shaped their dubious and sometimes atrocious behavior. Beliefs are the machines that produce our actions and lifestyles.

Glad I’m Not the Crazy One

But before we divide the present population between the right-minded and the crazies, maybe we should ask ourselves some questions.

  • What do my life and choices look like to those watching from the outside?
  • Where are there inconsistencies between what I believe, what I say, and what I do?
  • How might future generations look back on me or my group and shake their heads in disbelief, ridicule, or disgust over what we have chosen to embrace?

“Crazy” is, after all, a relative term, depending on where you stand. Many years ago, my wife and I believed God spoke to us about quitting our salaried jobs and joining a mission organization. Friends and family raised eyebrows in concern. Words like “illogical,” “damaging,” “stupid,” and “unthinking” were used to communicate their concerns. And while we could on one level understand why they said these things, we also had our eyes fixed on a different interpretation of reality. We had caught a glimpse of living toward eternity. Since we believed we are eternal beings, we were trying to see beyond what made sense for merely the moment. Our thought process went like this: if we say we believe and trust God, then we should seek to live it out in every part of our lives, even if we appear to be a bit loony.

It’s so easy to label certain activities in others as “crazy” because we don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, the process that got them there.

The First Christian “Lunatic”

I have been comforted by looking at the Apostle Paul’s life. Few people deny his brilliance. Yet he was accused (possibly multiple times) of being out of his mind (Acts 26:24). Responding to a heavenly vision, he went from violently oppressing Jesus followers to proclaiming Jesus to be the true king of all nations. Highly educated, Paul traveled the known world telling anyone who listened that the Creator of all things had become a man, was executed as a common criminal, and then resurrected to a new life form as the rightful ruler over all the earth. This was insanely offensive to the Jews who expected a conquering warrior as their messiah. It was laughably wacky to the Greeks who had their unique methods of logic and philosophical reasoning. And it was disturbingly psycho to the Romans who had developed their own quasi-religious system for keeping the peace and protecting Caesar as the only king.

Yet Paul was so confident that he was seeing God’s plan for the world at work through Jesus, no accusations of being a liar, lunatic, or disturber of the peace could stop him. His heaven-come-to-earth worldview informed everything that he believed, said, and did.  He refused to cave to the mounting pressure to conform. In the end, he himself was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and executed because his “craziness” was too much for the fragile culture he lived in. Yet the “lunacy” of his proclamations found responsive hearts, and networks of faithful believers developed and spread around the globe. The heavenly kingdom of God ruled by Jesus took root in thousands and millions of flesh-and-blood temples. The governments and systems that mocked Paul’s outrageously “kooky” message eventually, in one form or another, bowed their knees to it. Ultimately, who was crazy?

Do I Need a Perspective Change?

Most of us feel we’re the sane ones. The way we live our lives and the attitudes we hold toward the issues of our day make sense to us. But how will our present worldviews stand the test of time? And particularly, the test of eternity? What does “crazy” look like when viewed from heaven? Jesus followers must take on a higher perspective when we evaluate our drive to accumulate material stuff, push to empower ourselves at the expense of others, or make pursuing personal happiness our top priority. There are so many human mindsets and attitudes that feel normal and justifiable now but will ultimately be shown as lunacy in light of the eternal kingdom of Jesus.

We are presently choosing the kind of “crazy” to which we will submit our lives and eternal futures. Jumping out of airplanes without a parachute and declining to bathe for decades are nothing compared to the craziness of failing to live this life with eternity in mind. We may be accused of all kinds of painful and humiliating things like Paul and Jesus were. But hold on to the bigger picture. Our loyalty to the TRUE King will be rewarded in the end. We will see that fidelity to Jesus was always the sanest thing we could hold to in this lifetime.

May His kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Response:

  • What ideas or activities of others strike me as crazy? How often do I judge the actions of others that make no sense to me before trying to understand their core motivation?
  • How willing am I to be seen as crazy for my loyalty and trust in Jesus? What am I most concerned about?
  • How committed am I to live toward a “crazy” future where heaven will be joined with earth and God will rule and dwell among us? (Revelation 21:1-4). How might this kind of commitment change what I do?
  • Jesus, what do you want to show me about the reality of your kingdom and rulership?

*You can find these and many more crazy activities on the internet.

One Comment on “Choosing the Right Kind of Crazy

  1. Hi Jeff I enjoyed this message. especially the guy that walked the tightrope and the one that had not taken a bath for 60 years. We all need to dare do things for God even though people may make fun of us. Thanks. Sharon

    Like

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