When I see you on the cross, Lord Jesus, I am ashamed. I feel convicted in the depths of my being. What sacrifice have I made for others? What would I have done were I in your position; if the powers of this world confronted me? I am not satisfied with myself; I do not accept my response. If I were silent in the face of this world’s anger and depravity, as I very well might be, how could I live with myself after that silence? If I failed to stand for the weak, the righteous, and the truth that is found in You, how then could I stand for anything? If I protected my own personal interests at that terrible moment of decision, and shrank away from advocating for the interests of goodness and mercy, and for what is right in your sight—this would be like planting seeds of ugliness within my own soul, which in time, would grow into something I greatly despise. I think I would grow to hate my very life, which I had saved through my fear for self-preservation. I know that it would be far better for me, to hang with you on the cross, my Lord, than it is to enjoy the fruits of my fears. Yet, I am held captive by my fears; and I am ashamed to admit it.
Jesus, this world is not your friend. You’ve said it yourself; and it is clear that this is true. But I desire to be your friend. Yet, I am both at odds with this world, and with you. My insincerity is the cause of much anguish within me; although my falsehood helps me get along well with others. When one speaks your truth, the power of this world doesn’t like it; it doesn’t want any competition, and it doesn’t want to be exposed as a fraud. So, I haven’t wanted to hurt any feelings; I acquiesce. I tone it down. “Perhaps I’m wrong.” “It all depends on how you look at it.” There’s some truth in their argument. Maybe I don’t have all of the facts. Maybe they aren’t killing babies in the womb; maybe fetuses aren’t people. Maybe they aren’t harvesting organs in China; maybe I got that wrong. Maybe all these drugs really are good for us. And all of the additives they put in our food aren’t making us fat, sick and diseased. Maybe the politicians that are destroying us aren’t as ignorant and arrogant as they appear to be; maybe they really do know what’s best for us. Maybe our doctors aren’t bought off by other interests, and maybe they really do care about our health, and not how to maximize profits.
Jesus, did you question yourself, like I do? “Maybe the Pharisee’s are right, maybe I’m not the son of God?” Maybe I really shouldn’t have eaten that grain on the Sabbath? Perhaps I should tone it down a little? I could have waited a day, and healed some of those folks on Sunday instead of Saturday, what’s the hurry anyway? That might not have pushed so many buttons. Maybe we can have a conference, and iron out all these disagreements; I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding. I might not have all the facts. Besides, they’re just trying to keep the country together, and look out for the citizens; its tough being a Pharisee, I should lighten up on them. I should be a better neighbor to them; I’m not being a very nice Christian right now…
These are theoretical musings, but when it becomes real, it isn’t so humorous. Lives are in the balance, and there can be a genuine price to pay. You died on a cross. That is not a pleasant death. I am not so enamored by sacrifice when it becomes real; I assert it more readily, and with greater conviction, when I am simply ruminating about it. Our world is changing now, and I’m seeing more people faced with the real choice to either sacrifice themselves in the fight against destructive worldly powers, or to hide in the shadows and hope for the best. I’m not sure what to do; this troubles me. I have spent time planning many escape routes but none seem satisfactory. Neither do I like the prospect of opening my mouth and facing the consequences. But the idea of keeping silent in the face of deception and evil, is intolerable. I’d like to pretend this isn’t real; perhaps I have got the facts wrong. But the walls appear to be closing in on us all, and real choices will have to be made someday in the future. They are already being made by some of us. Will I muster the courage to take up my cross, when my time comes?