Sunday, September 15, 2013

... Along the way for the week of September 15, 2013

This week I was studying the story of the Tower of Babel and was reflecting on the efforts of the people to build a tower that reaches up to heaven.

One of the thoughts that came to my mind is this ... Why do we hate the cross so much?  As human beings we would rather find any other way to God than to take the way He Himself has provided, which involves a Roman cross.  So why do we hate the cross?

I can think of three reasons why I have a tendency to hate the cross.

First, I have a tendency to hate the cross because it shows me how helpless I really am.  At the cross I see the awfulness of my sin, and learn that all my efforts at "self" righteousness fall hopelessly short of the righteousness God requires.  I have a tendency to hate being helpless, and thus I have a tendency to hate the cross.

Second, I have a tendency to hate the cross because it seems to offer an inconsistent view of God.  When God's justice and mercy are revealed, to me (and my human mind) they look like hate and love.  My human intellect cannot find a good reason to crucify anyone, let alone my own child.  This tendency has led some commentators to call our view of substitutionary atonement nothing short of divine child abuse.  If God is love, then the God who sends His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for sin seems inconsistent.   Therefore, I have a tendency to hate the cross.

Finally, I have a tendency to hate the cross because it shows me that obedience to God may involve suffering.  I do not like to suffer.  In fact, I hate it.  Yet when I survey the cross I see that Jesus was obedient to death, even death on a cross.  If the cross leads to suffering, then it is one more reason for me to have a tendency to hate the cross.

Nevertheless, with all these reasons to hate the cross, I know that ultimately the cross was for me.  It was my sin that Christ healed at the cross, and because of that I love Him.  I do not love the cross, but I love the Lord Jesus who was willing to endure the cross and scorn its shame all for the joy set before Him.  His cross leads to my crown as a child of the King.  His death leads to my life, so when I survey the awful cross I realize that what was done there demands my soul, my life, my all!

So what about you?  Do you have a tendency to hate the cross?  If so, how do you deal with the scandal of grace that involves a Roman cross?


  1. Maybe not a direct answer on your closing answer, but what I realized while reading this blog that in your third point you are talking about suffering..

    I find myself truly blessed, since the suffering doesn't feel like suffering. It is too mild to be called 'suffering'.

    We should praise God for giving us the freedom to express our faith and making it as easy as it can be to follow Him. (I should've posted this on the fourth on July, perhaps).

    I understand that suffering has many levels, but when I think of the cross and what it should mean to me, I automatically see Gods love for me. Just can't force myself to see any different.

    1. Thank you Coen for sharing your thoughts. Certainly the freedoms we enjoy in the US to worship God are something for which we can remain ever thankful. However, I would resist the tendency to classify some "suffering" as worse than others. We all "suffer". We might not suffer by being imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and even killed for our faith, but we suffer the consequences of living in a broken world. I sometimes think it might be easier to die for my faith in Jesus than it is to live for Him. And that is the challenge set before us all (the cross which we are called to bear) to live everyday, every moment for Him! It is not simply a one-time decision, but a lifelong, daily willingness to surrender my will to His.