Before we begin, I need to clarify one important detail. When I refer in the following paragraphs to “crazy people” I do not speak of actual mental illness. Mental illness is a serious and complicated issue, and I would never address it flippantly.
BUT I do I feel confident addressing the other side of crazy. Those people whom we love, but cannot understand what is going through their mind. We don’t understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, or why they won’t knock it off. We may putter around our house, full of conversations in our head about how we would address them given the right circumstances. We’d set them straight, and show them the light.
So they are acting crazy, and in turn are making us crazy. The full cycle of craziness, if you will.
We have a few options. We can indeed point out all their problems, but I think we all know how this is going to turn out. Crazy people are often completely blinded by their own perspective, so talking to them is like talking to a cat on methamphetamines. Everyone leaves feeling even more disturbed.
We can ignore the craziness and go on with our lives, but we all know that we wouldn’t be bothered by the bizarro behavior if we could ignore it. Many of us have tried, but the problems start to blow up in our own faces and not just their own crazy face. They start “bumping into our happy,” as Lysa Terkeurst says.
So, if we can’t talk about it without making it worse, and we can’t ignore it, what can we do? We can pray about it. Some of you are now gripping your computer and shouting, “I HAVE been praying about it! For years! And they’re still nuts!”
Well, I can’t argue with you there. Sometimes we pray for years and we don’t see any change. But often this could be because (I hesitate to make you more irritable about the situation, but…) we’ve been praying from our own blinded perspective. God answers prayers that glorify Himself, not prayers that desperate people shout to get their own way. I know this because I’ve shouted many a desperate and selfish prayer, and they always fall flat.
So I present to you a prayer directly from Philippians 1:9-11, because praying directly from Scripture is some of the most powerful praying you can do. This prayer lifts up our screwy friends or relatives and then asks for God to do amazing things in their lives, things beyond just fixing our irritations. We ask God to bring glory to Himself in the situation, and we get ourselves out of the way. (In all fairness I should point out that Paul offered up this prayer for people who weren’t making him crazy. But we can still apply this to the topic at hand.)
Every human is blind, but God is all-seeing. I’m going to try to remember that the next time I want to grab someone by the ears and shake them a little bit.
Just a little bit of shaking is okay, right? Not enough for brain damage or anything.