Discovering the Cross in our Sin
A tendency of most Christians is to want to enter into relationship with Christ through His cross but to want to avoid that same cross in our own lives.
No-where is this more apparent than in how we deal with our personal sin.
We will go to great lengths to deny our sin, and the suffering that we cause ourselves and others due to our sin. It offends us.
We are in good company. I love how Peter, whom Jesus had just named as the Rock of the Church, refused the truth of the cross. Peter’s clear vision of Jesus as the Way did not yet include the truth that Jesus had to suffer and die. Jesus’ prophesied His crucifixion in Matt. 16: 21-23 and Peter cannot stand it. He blurts out: ‘Never Lord!’ Jesus’ response? ‘Get thee behind me, Satan!’
God’s vision of what He must endure at Calvary, and what we must endure as well as we follow Him there, is different than our own. The cross offends us, particularly as it applies to owning the suffering caused by our sin.
Facing our own sin at Holy Week is the most elementary form of suffering. And a crucial step to experiencing rightfully the cross in other forms of suffering. If we deny our sin through ignorance or shifting its blame onto something else, we like Peter shall be hindered in going the distance with Jesus at Holy Week.
Not long ago, I was upset at a Christian colleague of mine. I could not believe what he had done to me. His name came up during lunch with a friend and I crucified him with my tongue. With a force that surprised me, I served my friend a huge dollop of gossip. He looked stunned, like I had just slapped him. I had. With my sin. He was left to bear this horrid account of one he barely knew.
I tried quickly to justify my sin to myself: ‘I am just processing my pain…’ The Holy Spirit gave me an immediate vision of His finger poised to flick me off my flimsy little chair and send me tumbling through the restaurant. It was as if He were saying: ‘You crucify others? Prepare to be crucified.’
‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but we shall prayerfully fight for what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’