This week is tech week for the New England premiere of Dead Man Walking, which I am in with Boston Opera Collaborative. Because this is where my heart and time are being spent this week, I am running a series of posts about the faith and justice issues in the opera. Today I’ll conclude with some thoughts on why a person might bother to love someone who has done something terrible.
Caring about a criminal is not a reasonable thing to do.
Reason tells us that when someone does a terrible thing they are no longer worthy of care and affection. It’s possible, if you haven’t yet realized that gratuity is at the core of love, to believe that they don’t deserve love.
That’s a pretty safe place to be emotionally. We work out equations of worthiness that solve our thornier problems. We can look at a sinner and pronounce him or her guilty and walk away.
A long time ago I heard God whisper ” I dare you not to take the easy way out.”
God says “get out of the boat“. God says “jump off this cliff of love with me. I dare you to see what happens if you don’t succumb to being too reasonable.”
When we dare, we grow, our hearts expand to bursting and we know others deeply, far beyond the worst things they’ve ever done. We see a child of God, no matter how cloaked in darkness that child may have become. We sink more profoundly into consuming love. It’s scary, it stretches us out and swallows us up, but such love is what we were made for.
God dares us to love more.