God Might Be Insane
You might think someone who is over half a century old would have a pretty good handle on who they are as a person. In my case, I have embarked, finally, on an inner journey to find some of that answer. Part of that is journeying through the Bible to see what that has to say about it. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, after all.
I recently had a sudden thought that God might be just a little unhinged.
First, God was not saving anyone out of some grudging obligation. 1 John 3:1-2 says that we are called “children of God” because God loves us that much (“lavished” is the word the NIV uses). Ephesians 1:4-5 adds that we have been adopted as “sons” (and daughters) through Jesus, holy and blameless in God's sight. God's motivation for this? His “pleasure and will”, emphasis on “pleasure” for where I am going with this. These verses serve to illustrate my point. God did all this through His love and for His pleasure – he wanted to do this. This is not too insane, admittedly, which brings up the next point.
Second, God made it possible for us to be “children of God” through Jesus. It might seem obvious, but that it bears mentioning here. Jesus' scourging, beating, crowning, crucifixion, torment and death, culminating in His resurrection, were the vehicle for our adoption as God's sons and daughters. Let the violence soak in and let what Jesus endured as a pleasure motivated through love just sit there for a moment. Jesus was unrecognisable as the person He was because of the thorough beating He had taken.
And this, while we were “enemies of God” (Romans 5:10). This is where things get really nuts. Consider the word “enemy”. The Cambridge dictionary defines “enemy” as “a person who hates or opposes another person and tries to harm them or stop them from doing something”. Being an enemy is not a passive condition. It is actively working against and wanting to do harm to the interests of another. We were enemies of God. That is, whether we knew it or not, we were actively seeking harm to God and His plans for this creation. In short, we were trying to screw Him over.
Despite that, God gave His only Son to a horrible torture and death, (and it was His pleasure to do so), for the very people who hated Him and wanted to take a huge dump on His plans and goals for this world. Imagine someone who hates you or even mildly dislikes you. Would you subject your own child to even a mild level of pain for their sake? I know it would be a cold day in Hell before I did that.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-45)
And this is the insanity of God's love. We might rail against Jesus' teaching about how to deal with enemies as “impractical” or unsuited to our time (I am still puzzled how it was more relevant to Roman-occupied Judea than it is now) or that turning the other cheek was only for that time, but there is no excuse. In Jesus, God stepped up and put His money (well, His Son) where His mouth is. Without loving His enemies and wanting to do good for them, He would not have done anything for us, who were His enemies.
And that's insane. I can only thank God that He was so far out of His tree that He came up with the crazy idea of nailing His Son to a cross after a good bout of abuse, violence and degradation that rendered that Son as “mass of twisted flesh” (Moritfication, Ancient Prophecy).