Outside the Box?

I follow the website “Collective-Evolution.” (http://collective-evolution.com) I appreciate much of what they have to offer and resonate to their mission statement which begins with the line, “We (CE) believe in creating change by thinking outside the box.”

Of course, “thinking outside the box” is a relative thing depending on whatever box it is to which one is referring. We all reside in some kind of box, but I agree that some boxes are small and exclusive and other boxes are bigger and more inclusive. Thinking outside the box may simply mean leaving a smaller box for a bigger box, and usually that is a good thing.  We grow by “thinking outside the box.”

Anyway, on C-E’s Facebook page this personalized mantra was posted,“I don’t have time to hate people who hate me. I’m too busy loving people who love me.” Now that idea certainly is “outside the box” for anyone who lives a life of criticizing and denigrating others they dislike or hate.  But I am not sure it is really “outside the box” for the average person. I consider myself to be an average person who mostly knows other average people. Most of the average people I know spend very little time and energy hating the people they hate. I know them to be good and decent people who invest a great deal of time and energy in loving the people who love them. So, I conclude that as great as the statement sounds (and is), it doesn’t seem to me to be all that much “outside the box.”

What I think most definitely would be “outside the box” is if the mantra was altered to state something like, “I don’t waste time hating people who hate me. My life is focused on loving people who hate me.”  If somebody were to say that and, even more radically, live like that we might think they were a lot more than merely “outside the box.” We might say they were outside of their mind, crazy, deranged, deeply disturbed, mentally unbalanced or some other such pathological thing. It is probably safe to say that most people do not intentionally focus their time and energy on loving the people who hate them.

But I remind you that those of us who call ourselves Christian and, at least verbally, pledge our allegiance to Jesus are connected to someone who not only said things almost like it, but lived it and died it.  He challenged his disciples with “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”   “Father, forgive them,” he cried from his cross. During this holy season of Lent, this is the thing we should be focusing a upon. We are called to not only be amazed at what he taught and how he lived and died, but as his current day disciples to adopt his life as our own and embody and live his love in the world.

Will we do it perfectly? Of course not!  We will miss the mark and seek forgiveness along the way.  We may repeatedly get distracted and confused and find ourselves lost and in need to be found.  We likely will find ourselves in exile, feeling disconnected from our Center and will need to come home to God’s love again and again. We will feel weary and heavy laden and will experience empowering rest in Jesus’ refreshing love. But it is all a part of the wondrous journey. We need not be overly discouraged or surprised by the ups and downs we experience along The Way of Jesus.

I like C-E’s mission statement, “We believe in creating change by thinking outside the box.” I think Jesus would like it too.  In reality, it is the way he lived and died. The difference is that he transcends all the boxes that minimize humanity, whether it be our own humanity or the humanity of others. The promise and power of the resurrection is that he continues to live his life through us.   So let us make Jesus’ “out of the box” mantra our mantra: “I don’t waste time hating people who hate me. My life is focused on loving people who hate me.” That kind of love truly has the power to heal the world and make us whole.


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