Friday, March 29, 2013
The Man from Good Friday
Today is Good Friday.
I understand why it is called this from our perspective. Yes, this is Good Friday for us.
Because we are lost in our sin. Not just the petty ones, not just the little ones, but in the lostness of being bent toward hard and ugly things. We are lost because of the very fact of being bent. We are bent toward wrong regardless that many believe that to be politically incorrect. And their question always seems to be who defines wrong?
We define it in our own spirits. And we feel it. It pricks us. It whispers to us. And we push it back. And we grow hard and callous to it. And the harder we become the more bent we lean.
We are bent toward the ugly. Toward the lie. Toward the hate. Toward the desiring of something we cannot handle.
A precious friend of mine was once asked the question what did Jesus’ dying (even living) help? What did it really affect? The implication was that it didn’t affect anything at all. My heart wept and bled when I heard this question. Not because of the question—it is good to ask questions. But my spirit grieved because the underlying thought behind this particular question is that Jesus’ death affected nothing in the real world.
And yet you are reading my words.
That man’s dying affected me. His dying altered me. I am who I am because of that man.
You are reading the words of a woman once completely bent, like a tree in a hurricane, toward the ugly and profane.
You are reading the words of a woman once bent toward destruction.
Every decision I made was leading to my death—one way or another. Deep inside myself I longed to be a god. To be the perfecter of my own life plan. To be the author of my own story. To be in control of my own destination. I was getting my wish.
Am I being dramatic? No, I’m speaking the truth.
I needed to be saved from myself. Many don’t want to hear this. They don’t want to believe that they need to be saved. They don’t need religion; they have so many other things. But the other things don’t save. I know.
Education didn’t save me. I was being well educated.
Money didn’t save me. I had plenty.
Knowledge didn’t save me. I was gaining that daily.
Friends didn’t save me. They left me when I needed them most.
Family didn’t save me. The bonds were too frail, too loose.
Enlightenment didn’t save me. I sampled a buffet of beliefs.
Success didn’t save me. I had a long list of accomplishments and achievements.
No, the Man from Good Friday saved me.
He called me out of darkness and into his wonderful light. And I was in darkness. I look back at that darkness now and for a brief moment I am actually frightened. I think I know what the people around and near the cross of Jesus that day must have felt—when the sky became shrouded and darkness descended.
Eerie and silent. Unexplained. Unexpected.
Darkness hides. Darkness covers. Darkness conceals. Darkness deceives.
I was in that kind of darkness.
When I met Jesus I had never met anyone like him before. And have never met anyone like him since. I have met people who ridicule him. I have met people who attempt to mimic him. I have met people who resemble him. I have met people who dismiss him. But there has been no one like him. At seventeen and then over the years I have followed him through the Gospels as if I were a curious child, a serious journalist, a dedicated student and a lonely woman.
Never have I met someone who loved people the way Jesus did.
And somehow in the midst of that darkness I realized that this man loved me. And oh, it wasn’t the kind of love I had known before—based on performance and appearance and contribution. It wasn’t a love that flared angry or allowed neglect. It wasn’t a narcissistic love that depended on what I gave or didn’t give. It wasn’t a love based on the benefits I offered—I had none to offer. This was a revelation to me. And I truly mean a revelation. I remember the EXACT moment it happened. And in the midst of that revelation I understood that all my choices were leading me away from this man, away from this God-awful love he has for his people.
And I KNEW I wanted and needed to be loved like that!
When he called me out of my Good Friday darkness it wasn’t about rules, regulations, laws or morality. It was about more than religion. More than spirituality (I didn’t know what either one of those even were). It was about more than doing the right thing. It was about a relationship with this man, the one I had met in the Gospels. He died to tell me life could be different.
And with Beth Moore I’m glad!
This man’s dying affected me. No one can negate my experience. No one can rob that from me. I know I am different because of Him. I KNOW what kind of woman I would have been had it not been for his death. And she wouldn’t have been pretty.
Today is Good Friday!
And I am GLAD! Be glad with me!
The Beth Moore link is a message she gave at Passion 2013. Please take time to listen.