Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Big Deal About the Cross - Part 1

For almost a week I tossed and turned at night, uncontrollably, audibly sighing “ uggghhh” every few minutes. It kept my husband up. I even sighed in the day time.

I had deeply hurt someone I love by my careless words and the weight of my guilt was doing me in. I couldn't undo it, I couldn't go back in time, yet I twisted my mind into a pretzel trying to figure out if I could. There was no way – no human way - to repair the relationship so I prayed. I prayed for the heart of the one I hurt to be healed and mended, that they would see themselves with the love of God, not with the words of my mouth. I prayed for my own forgiveness from God.

Bearing our Own Sins
There was eventually a day when I realized in my heart  that God had, in fact, forgiven me.

Soon after, as part of teaching a class on Jesus, I recounted my tale explaining why no mere man, but only a God-Man, could bear our sins on the cross. “If I was almost crushed under the weight of my own sin,” I said, “It would take a super-human to bear the sins of the whole world”.

In the film "The Mission" Robert Deniro's character becomes penitent after a religious conversion, wracked with guilt over having overseen the slaughter of indigenous South American people. So in one scene as he, a missionary and indigenous residents of the rain forest climb a steep cliff, his character climbs while dangerously toting a heavy, cumbersome sack of his armor and weapons - his way of carrying his cross and bearing his iniquities. (No one else was so encumbered)  When he reaches the top of the cliff one of the fellow climbers cuts the rope holding the sack. As it cascades down the cliff into the water below, Deniro's character convulses with sobs.

No one is expecting him to bear that weight anymore. He realized he has been forgiven by the very people whose families he massacred. (See video clip below)

Forgiveness. Even with all the sermons, I wonder if any one of us this side of heaven really fully grasps what was done for us when Jesus became sin for us on the cross, paying sin's penalty and why we must now live our lives in the light of it.

More than a pat on the head with the words, "It's Okay",  by choosing to not only make a way for us to be forgiven but by being the way Jesus showed us a mercy and grace that is humanly unfathomable. He chose to be the Lamb that was represented, in the natural, by millions of slaughtered animals and special rituals designed to provide pardon for Jews while pointing towards that more excellent, once-for-all sacrifice. Jesus made a way for us to have peace with the Father, be adopted into His family and have the right to be called a "holy people", clothed in white robes. Who loves like that??

Post Script
By God's grace and my "victim's" graciousness the relationship was restored. I am the happiest person on the planet. Being set free by Jesus - once we grasp the price that was paid - should similarly set our hearts to flight. In our giddiness we should gladly swing open the prison doors of unforgiveness and set the captives free, both our enemies and ourselves.

For He made him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

Scene from "The Mission"


  1. That's so nice! Thank you so much for sharing Linda, now I know what I can do for those that I need forgiveness from :) <3
    Love you!

  2. i love your heart. and i can hear your voice in your written words. thanks for sharing your journey with us.


Thank you for sharing your reactions and your own journey with me!