Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sin and Shame

Jesus will bind our wounds. That's the message we started looking at yesterday, and we all seem to read it the same way - from our own broken, beaten bodies. From our own wounded hearts. From our own torn flesh. And this makes us so very, very thankful for the Cross.

But Jesus does not just bind the wounds we bear; He also binds the wounds we cause. And that...ought to make us grieve.

It ought to make us grieve that the Son of God went to the Cross not just to save us, but to save others from us. He went not only to make us whole, but to put back together the pieces of other lives that we've torn apart. He died not only to redeem us from the world, but to redeem the world from us. He carried not just our sin and shame to the Cross; He carried the sin and shame of those we have sinned against, those we have shamed. Christ took each one of those heavy steps to Calvary both to make us clean and to clean up our mess.

I don't know about you, but that breaks my heart. 

It breaks my heart because I realize, just in that thought, the others that I know I have wounded, and I shudder to think about those I don't know about. It breaks my heart because here I am, trying to tell other people about this amazing God who binds their wounds...and I am the very cause of some of those wounds. Let me tell you about this amazing Jesus...because by the time I get through with you, you're going to need Him.

It's this painful recognition of a double life where I am both making Jesus known and making Jesus necessary, and that troubles me. It grieves me. It...shames me. And now, I need Jesus to take away this shame, as well. Which means that I make Jesus necessary not only for you, as I wound you, but also for me, as I shame myself. Which means now I bear double the shame, for I have made Him necessary on two accounts: yours and mine.

Aren't you glad there's something so amazing as grace?

But this is essential. We have to understand this. I have to understand this. Because I don't want to be simply thankful for the Cross. I don't want to be glad that God would do such a thing, although I am thankful and I am glad. I never want to be in a place where I forget the gruesomeness of the Cross in the presence of its glory because that was real blood that Jesus shed. Those were real nails that pierced His hands and feet. Those were real soldiers with real hammers and heavy beams with real splinters. Those were real thorns that pressed onto His head, real tears that He cried. There was real pain in His voice when He cried out, Eloi, eloi.... There is a real tragedy at the foot of the Cross, and as much as I am the beneficiary of His glory, I am also the cause of His pain. 

When we think about the Cross as being His glory, that's easy. That's not so hard. Because in His glory, we are healed; we see ourselves as whole. The pieces of who we are come together and start to make sense. But when we remember the agony of the Cross, we're torn. We stand face-to-face with our own brokenness. We fall to pieces. Because we did that. I did that. I'm doing that. I'm creating a world where people need Jesus. 

In the same breath I'm telling them who He is. 

It's almost impossible to reconcile, at least for me. How am I ever supposed to make Him known if I can't stop making Him necessary?

It breaks my heart. And it ought to. Because as much as the Cross is this incredible glory, it's also a terrible tragedy. As much as His blood covers me, it is also on my hands.

Jesus will bind our wounds - both those we carry and those we cause. And for this, I am both thankful...and I grieve. 

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