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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The love we couldn't kill

“Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands. Saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee?
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.”
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter…and Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

The Bible tells us what we don’t want to hear: that we all have made a mess of our lives; that we are walking disasters, accidents waiting to happen. In our wake we have left much desolation, and the older we get the more desolate the landscape behind us.

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
“A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” (Rom. 3:11-18;Joel 2:3).

We must live with damage we’ve done to everyone with whom we’ve ever come in contact. Everywhere we look is a dismal, depressing, discouraging wasteland. We damaged even those we loved, our children, our spouses, our friends. Often, they are forever affected beyond the possibility to forgive us completely.

We can’t shake the painful guilt of the permanent damage that we have caused throughout our lifetime, especially to those who we see often or who haunt our thoughts after unexpected reminders. The cry goes up all over the world, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

“We are consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath are we troubled.
Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance.
For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.” (Ps. 90:7-9).

We also live with damage that others have inflicted on us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some of our assailants have passed away and now we can no longer resolve our anger and sorrow toward them, or find closure from those debilitating emotions. People we most loved and trusted have deeply ingrained their damage into our psyches. The earlier in life their damage hurt us, the more deeply it is rooted. We cannot remove it.

And worse, the abuse we were given is a source of the damage that we passed on to others, and that they will pass on to many after us. But, even without abuse by others, we come out of the womb “by nature the children of wrath.” (Eph. 2:3). Ishmael’s curse applies to us all, “He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” But, here God give us a glimmer of hope: “and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Gen. 16:12). The Holy Spirit can fix anything.

God has given us a source of hope—and only one source. There is Someone in heaven to whom we have brought grievous damage each time we hurt someone here in this life. His Son came here to suffer the damage our loved ones have suffered by us. We sought to destroy Him just like we’ve done to everyone else we know.

But the Prince of heaven could not be ruined. We could not poison His soul. He, unlike every sinner we’ve hurt, could not stop loving and forgiving. His willingness to forgive the meanest, the cruelest, was never dampened for a moment.

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Is. 53:7).

“Whelmed in darkness,” He was “troubled on every side, yet not distressed…
[He was] perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
Cast down, but not destroyed.” (2Cor. 4:8,9).

“Father, forgive them.” (Lk. 23:34). His first pronouncement on the cross came from a heart yearning to show us His continued love and understanding, even as we stripped Him of His modesty. His mission was fully accomplished by communicating to every age of this fallen world an undying forgiveness which nothing could break. No amount of our abuse could drive it from Him. There was not a whisper of anger in His voice. The infinite love He had had from His beloved Father’s bosom prepared Him to face the tremendous affront; but in Gethsemane and on the cross, His love was His alone when the attack came. And for this the Father was pleased. “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.” (Is. 53:11). No one before His Son has been able to show us the perfect love that will heal our wounds and assuage the rage from our first birth. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” (Rom. 5:10).

The Son passed into the grave with forgiveness His very last desire and hope. Now He asks us to look away from all those whom we have broken and brought to ruin, and look to Him whom we cannot break and ruin. He asks us to turn away from the lives we have permanently damaged and come confidentially to Him as He hangs there, firmly and easily retaining His love for us, despite the destruction we tried to do to Him, despite the love we could not expunge from Him. He wants us to lay all of our crimes against humanity upon Him and let Him return to us only mercy and acceptance. He wants to be our wise therapist and wonderful counselor. Killing Him and seeing His heaven-sent look of love is the only thing that will end our serial killing of ourselves and our loved ones. Nothing else will stop the cycle except this remedy that God has prescribed.

There is nothing too bad we’ve done to God and man that the God-Man Christ Jesus cannot pass over; nothing we’ve done too downright mean to poison His spirit of love toward us all.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
… For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (Jn. 3:14,15,17). “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” (Jn. 12:32). “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.” (Jn. 6:40).

There is healing in that sight. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Cor. 4:6). His peacefulness was not forced or feigned. It was His nature; it was how He was; that was Him.

He could not stop loving and giving His all for us. Again and again and again we must keep looking at the beating and neglect and death He took from us and at the look of peace and forgiveness and unbroken acceptance which He keeps giving us. We must live at Calvary and let it sink in that His life was draining away while His one desire still was, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37). Even with His head bowed and His eyes closed this was His only mind.

Let Him absorb your anger from life’s troubles; let Him take all of your frustration and sorrow and grief and confusion. This is what He came for. His one purpose was to restore health to those who have trembled before Him for the damage they have done and the damage they have received. But, if we will not keep looking at His sacrificing heart, recrimination against our enemies and regret for our victims will overwhelm us and we will surely die. Our hearts will harden and we will grieve away the Holy Spirit, and our minds and bodies will fail. Daily we must return to the cross which God has ordained for our happiness and longevity. We must go to the Son we have crucified, that great event of all time and eternity, and let the Spirit baptize us into His full acceptance, freed from all the lesser sacrifices we’ve killed during our life, and fully drink in of the only perfect Offering, the only Sacrifice we could kill who keeps on loving us until He goes into shock.

“As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:13). He took our abuse in order to be able “to proclaim the acceptable year of the [Father]; … to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the [Father], that He might be glorified.” (Is. 61:2,3).

Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” Desire of Ages, p. 25.

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