SOMEONE I LOVE did a disgusting thing.
If I told you what it was, you would say, “Disgusting.” And you might not read any further.
Yet this disgusting thing is the very reason I appreciate the Cross of Jesus as much as I do.
How odd is that.
Remember the song that talks about how wonderful the cross is?
“O the wonderful cross. O the wonderful cross.”
I wouldn’t sing it.
I thought the lyrics were a crock.
What on earth was wonderful about the cross that crucified Jesus?
Singing the praises of the Cross felt comparable to singing about how wonderful the electric chair is or lethal injection or that meatloaf prepared by a relative who will remain unidentified.
My attitude about that song—and about the Cross—changed during a Good Friday sermon.
As the pastor spoke, he kept a picture up on the screen: Jesus carrying a cross.
Jesus had to carry that cross while the whole town watched him.
Crucifixion was the most shameful way to die.
The most disgusting way to die.
The most humiliating way to die.
I thought about that person I loved.
He was being publicly shamed.
His friends had abandoned him. His employer had fired him.
He lived each day humiliated.
That’s when it hit me during the sermon: Jesus understands shame.
He died in shame.
But he rose in glory, damning shame to hell.
“Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you” (1 Peter 2:24, God’s Word Translation).
The people we hurt might never forgive us. But God will. And because he does, we can forgive ourselves.
I still have trouble singing the song.
But it’s not because I hate the lyrics.
It’s because I love them.
O the wonderful cross,
O the wonderful cross
All who gather here
By grace draw near
And bless Your name.
—by Chris Tomlin