Everybody loves the Christmas story. The Easter story? That brings levels of belief out quicker than a match struck in a natural gas plant. This is when I have heard people outside of Christianity mock the message of Christ. Especially the Good Friday chapter of his story. They make fun of the cross. “Don’t Christians know that the cross is a sign of mockery. And they wear them around their necks.” And then they laugh at the lack of thought we demonstrate in our reverence.
It does raise my shackles. They are correct that crucifixion was a public display of disrespect. Disrespect of life. A statement that life was something to be easily discarded because a group of people didn’t like Jesus’ message. Disrespect of a person’s family. Jesus had a mother and father and brothers. They had to witness the crucifixion and the lack of regard of someone they loved.
And then I remember an incident I experienced with the cross. I have been in the church since birth. This incident is when the seeds planted over time took root. This “incident” began with someone within the church hurting my heart to the point where I questioned Christianity. I was beginning to agree with the people who believe that religion is a form of manipulation. After a certain amount of time and maturity the realization that the party(ies) involved in the incident were an example of how to not be a Christian.
When I prayed about it God said two things. This is the thing about the voice of God, it cuts through all the bull. Hebrew 4:12 says it best. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The first thing was a message that I was right. These actions were not anything Christ would have done or condoned.
The second message brought me straight to today. Good Friday. God explained in less than 10 words that Jesus went through the crucifixion for them too. It shut down any sense of self righteousness I tried to muster. There were no but buts or contingency clause questions. The second message changed my life.
Do I get upset? Yes. Do I avoid the person like they have the flu? Definitely. When a muscle is injured it needs rest to recover. The heart is a muscle too. I also understand and hope that should they accept the gift, they are forgiven.
I love the Easter message for the same reason those people make fun of us. God loved us enough to endure public disrespect and humiliation so we could be reconciled to him. It helps that three days later, he showed that the fight wasn’t over until he said it was. But that’s a different story and material for a different blog.
So I close today’s blog with the hope that, especially today, the ability to forgive a hurt is stronger than the damage another person’s wrong doing inflicted. And the reminder that when things seem to be at their worse, something good is coming around the corner.