As a christian it is sometimes challenging to remember that God can teach us in so many ways through so many different people and situations. The past two weeks brought a multitude of emotional and relational challenges. Holidays can do that I suppose.
My Let God post yesterday was because I was reminded of a Saturday night several years ago in which I needed to call an ambulance for my then, 79 year old mother. I was temporarily living with her after suffering through a house fire and while I gained a foothold on my professional direction and finances after that tragedy. The blessing in that inconvenience? I was there that night when she needed someone to be.
She was in the hospital the following five days. Every one of those days filled with tests and unanswered wonders and conversations with siblings, some of whom I had been distanced from recently and some I had been distanced from for a number of years. That week brought up conversations of past grievances. It brought up pettiness and wanting to be right rather than wanting to preserve relationships and find peace. It brought up self-righteousness rather than forgiveness. It brought up standing in faith, and difficult conversation to more clearly define where non-negotiable boundaries were. And it brought up disappointment for being reminded of pride and occasional arrogance. It brought up doubt. It brought up hurt. It was a mess and it was a rather full week emotionally.
One of the toughest parts of that week was hearing someone say the way we were treating each other was ok because they didn't believe in hell and that there was no such a thing as sin. That disturbed me. It disturbed me so deeply that I lost sleep over it one night.
I stayed up all night digging deep into research of hell and sin. For me, knowledge and learning solves my thirst and need for answers. This seemed too important a topic to ignore my need to be right about it. I had to be certain. What I found is that satan and sin are most definitely real and to say otherwise makes a mockery of what Jesus came to do.
Jesus came to take sin and the bondage sin causes. (1 John 3:5)
Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one. (1 John 3:8) Jesus came for the sake of you and I. (1 Peter 1:20)
Jesus came to "break down…the dividing wall of hostility…making peace…through the cross” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
Jesus came "to be the propitiation”—the wrath-absorbing substitute—“for our sins” (1 John 4:10)
Jesus came to "show his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
But why can those who are supposed love us, hurt us? And should we stay in that mess?
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. He gave His Son so that His son could be hurt. Octavius Winslow said "Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; but the Father, for love!" Judas, Pilate, the Jews and Pharisees could have never gotten away with the death of God's son - except that the Father allowed it.
Jesus was not held to the cross by nails, but by love. He could have escaped it. He could have overcome it. He could have said no, after all, He is God. But he agreed to pain, he agreed to ridicule and gruesome torture, for love.
And so I endured that week. For love. For gratitude of why Christ came and what He did for me. For becoming more like Jesus. Part of that week hurt. Part of that week was messy and I wanted to run from the mess. But I learned that week that Jesus didn’t run from the mess. He embraced the mess that humankind was in and then He did something about it. He loved.
And so should we, even if it hurts.