How should we report about Justin Bieber, Kanye West and other cases of well-known personalities who are considering the Christian faith?
The piece that doesn’t fit is called God and it gives meaning and perspective to all the other pieces.
There are many things in life that we don’t understand when we see them happening around us. We observe them and even analyse them, but we cannot get to grips with them because they surpass our understanding and our senses.
This happens as much in those things that we would call “good” as in those that, without a doubt, we would categorise as terrible, such as man’s ability to be cruel, to hurt his fellow beings, to be unconcerned about what happens around him or to selectively ignore whatever doesn’t benefit him personally.
In a sense we are so disappointed with what happens that many times we don’t even bother analysing it. We merely take it for granted that human beings are like this and it doesn’t make any sense to expect anything more from them. Only in situations which strike us as particularly severe or crude, do we sometimes consider the possibility that something even worse must be happening to us.
But generally it’s as if we were in a lethargic state and have lost the ability to be surprised by anything. That cannot be healthy although it may seem useful in order to continue living. When all’s said and done, there would be so much to surprise us that we wouldn’t be able to deal with it!
Nevertheless, what does surprise us, because we’re not so accustomed, is that the people around us have certain positions, gestures or actions which appear too good to be true. In these situations, we admire those people, but deep down, we’re convinced that they must be totally crazy. Either that or they have a good reason that could be altruistic but which we recognise isn’t usual nowadays.
In a general sense, there have always been good people. And generous, thankful, and helpful… but there are acts that far surpass all of that and they become that piece that doesn’t fit, no matter how often we try to force it.
Sometimes it’s our faith that’s at stake and converts these good, generous and altruistic actions into almost miracles, totally incomprehensible acts that can only be explained through the work of the Holy Spirit. Because that’s certainly the only way that we can make sense of otherwise inexplicable actions that are done for a greater cause than that of a self-seeking kingdom.
For committed believers there is a greater kingdom that this small kingdom that we each govern. Our life is not our own, our possessions are not ours, our children are not ours… and those that hear us say such things think that we’ve lost the plot. But that’s not the case.
Perhaps it’s that our priorities have changed, that we were blind and now we see, that we have submitted our will to His will and we have acquired an eternal perspective. How do we explain some of the gestures of surrender, love, generosity, sacrifice, compassion, forgiveness or reconciliation if it’s not because God is working a miracle where it would otherwise have been unthinkable?
It is true that the gospel continues to be foolishness for those that don’t believe. But for us, it’s the power of God that does that which is inexplicable, even when it goes against our very nature, tendencies, desires or preferences.
God does what He wants. He always does what He wants. Sadly at times He does that in spite of us. However, on many other occasions He also does it through us.
The piece that doesn’t fit, I think I can say, is called God. But paradoxically, it’s the piece that when placed in the puzzle, gives meaning and perspective to all the other pieces.