If you've been reading along this week you know by now that what we've been talking about is not the popular opinion. The ideas that we've been looking at are not politically correct (or whatever). A good number of those who have read these words are probably offended.
Because it's all essentially unfathomable to our world. It's unfathomable that we should ever take a step back and continue to love someone, or even to consider someone still a human being, after the unthinkable has been done. We can't just go around dignifying those who have done the undignified.
It's unfathomable that we should turn our backs on our systems, systems that we have invested a lot of our time, money, and energy into building just so in order that they might handle all of the problems that come from living together. We can't just throw our systems away, even if they don't work.
It's unfathomable that we should advocate something like human being as the solution to human problems, that we should think that just being better at loving one another is going to take care of all of our problems. We can't just think that love is the answer. It's naive, the world tells us.
But love is never naive.
And we're not talking here about holding hands, rainbows and unicorns, Kum-ba-yah sappy kinds of love that are matters of affection more than anything else. If that's the image you've got in your head, then you're right - that's never going to work.
We're talking about sacrificial love, the real kind of love that gets its hands and feet dirty, that sweats and bleeds and cries for one another. We're talking about a kind of love that gives the shirt off its back, that walks the extra mile, that prays for those who curse it.
We're talking about a kind of community that isn't just living next to one another, but is doing life together. That's what we're talking about.
It's unfathomable. It's unfathomable because we've invested so much in building our walls. We've invested so much in our fences. We've hung the curtains so that no one can see inside of our houses, and so that we don't have to look out and risk seeing inside of theirs. We've mastered the art of moving from one enclosed space to another to yet another so that we only ever see each other in passing, and we've said that's enough.
We can't just throw all that beautiful isolation away for something so foolish as community. Have you seen the kinds of persons who live out there?
I have, and let me tell you something about them: they're hurting.
They're hurting because men were never meant to be alone. It is the most horrible of all fates. From the very beginning, there was Adam, and Adam had literally the entire world at his fingertips, even more than we do today. He was responsible for naming all of the animals; he could walk in the garden alone; he could do whatever he pleased, all of creation was his. And still, God looked at Adam and said, "This is not good. This is no good at all."
It is not good for man to be alone.
And then we've come along and we've said that alone is great. Alone is the best. We've spent hundreds of years, thousands of years trying to perfect "alone." And then we wonder how it is that a man comes to feel so disconnected from the rest of society that he does the unthinkable. And then, irony of all ironies, we start to dig into his story and find out that he was "a loner."
No, he wasn't a loner; he was alone. He was alone in a creation that is no good for a man who is alone.
When God tossed Adam and Eve out of the Garden, they were cursed. But no part of their curse took away their togetherness. If nothing else, they came closer together, cleaving harder to one another. Because this side of Eden, they realized how alone they were...and how terrible aloneness is.
We need one another. That's why God, again and again and again and again and again and again and again, tells us in His Word how important it is that we love each other. That's why God keeps telling us that we're a people, not persons. That's why God bases His entire story in community. We were meant to be doing this life together, all the more the more fallen it is.
This doesn't mean we live next to one another. It doesn't mean we lay our lives all out in a row, or even in a circle, and pretend that it's something. That's nothing at all. What this means is that we weave our lives together, one thread woven into the next into the next so that together, we are a beautiful tapestry of what it means to not be alone.
And maybe you're one of those who are reading this thinking that'll never work, that "love" - or one anothering - isn't enough to "solve" this world's problems. That bringing a dangerous man into community is unfathomable, it's foolishness.
But what if we didn't? What if we didn't bring a dangerous man into our community? What if...what if we brought him in before he was dangerous? What if the man that we pull into our circle, the man that we love, the man that we one another...is just a man? What if we get to him before the world does, before his loneliness does, before his pain does, and what if we keep his troubles from getting to him at all?
That's what we're talking about. We're talking about doing it better from the very beginning. We're not talking about a world where we got out and make friends with the "loners." We're talking about a community where there are no loners in the first place.
Because no one is alone.