Crucify him! Crucify him!

by Greg Stevens on August 8th, 2012

I live a broken life. I am not perfect. I am not the ideal Christian.

I always thought that the person giving the sermon on a Sunday morning was just the opposite, perfect in all their Christian ways. They always talked about us lay people being “sinful” or told a traumatic story about their past, but they never told stories about their present brokenness.

Well, I’ll be the first to say, I am extremely messed up.

In admitting that, I recently started to entertain the harsh language Augustine, Luther and Calvin have all used to describe the utter screwed-up-ness of human beings. I don’t, for once, think that God has given up on us or has ever left us. But I can easily admit to my own stupidity, my crappy habits and the un-Christian like corners of my life – and when I’m in the thick of them, it’s always nice to know these other Christians have felt the same way.

Tonight in our conversation on sin I want to talk about sin not as a unilateral ethical code that gets broken but as a complex relational problem.

For example, when I treat a girl as an object of my lustful desires, rather than the valuable human being she is, I am not screwing up some ancient ethical code but am hurting myself, and more importantly her. She and I now see each other and ourselves in often distorted ways. We become a bit confused about where God is in any of it and move forward together with a foundaiton of brokeness. In our later relationships, we will carry bagage, if it's not healed and addressed. In our relationships with other people, wheather sexual or not, could often be negativley affected. She has, in metaphorical language, been nailed to a cross by my actions. She has been put up there to be hung and I’ve found myself, through my actions, shouting, “Crucify her! Crucify her!”

That’s a terrifying thought.

Which brings me to the 23rd chapter of Luke. 

“Crucify him! Crucify him!” The religious leaders shouted.

“Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.’ But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted…As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him…When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

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When we live in ways that are harmful to ourselves, to the environment, and to others, we are living lives that are breaking the heart of God. A God who is present in every moment, who feels and takes on our brokenness, experiencing the pain and suffering it causes.

The slaves in sweat shops who made the sheets on my bed, the farmworkers in the CIW who picked the tomatoes on the burger made from chickens that have been abused and infused with toxins, the high school girl who gives her virginity away to the first boy who tells her she’s pretty, and the environment that’s suffering more from human beings than any other species, ever……the stories of oppression and sin are endless…….the crosses we build for ourselves and others are endless. 

And in all of it Jesus' response, is not condemnation but infinite forgiveness and love.
 
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”


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