The rear-view mirror still taunts me. The images may appear closer than they actually are, yet the scars have stories of being put to open shame; death by exposure was a salacious headline, and the red badge of courage could never be applied to me.
Imagine your hidden sins put on display for the world to witness… How would it feel to have your diary published, including the darkest secrets of a scandalous heart. What would be your defense to the accusations? Where would you turn, inward or outward – in anger or fear?
Paul writes of the shame of the cross: “God raised you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their plastic authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.” – Col. 2:13-15 [Message]
The Roman Empire were artists at torturing their victims. The objective was to humiliate an enemy by stripping them completely naked, then raising them up on an execution stake and announcing their shame to the world. The thirst of blood and venom drenched a twisted crowd of professional religious people, with the spectacle of a writhing, dying, enemy of the State.
And after all the smoke had cleared, and the last witness had turned away, Jesus rose victorious from the shallow grave. He had absorbed the wrath of God and man, and walked away in defiance.
Paul goes on to write that the resurrection of Jesus had, in essence, subverted the new world disorder and exposed the laws of empire in humiliation and shame. He publicly mocked the enemies (both visible and invisible) in the triumph of new life!
Somehow my story, as gut-wrenching and humiliating as it is, can become a trophy of God’s grace. With every fiber of my being, I hate my sinful past! I continue to war against the ever-present temptations within. And I dread being reminded of my self-inflicted scars. And yet, the reconciliation of all things hidden is now being put on display by the Kingdom of Jesus at work within me.
So to the haters who have googled my name and researched new ways to accuse me: I’m glad you found this blog. Now raise your glass to the restorative work of the Mercy King! He is risen, and I’m with Him. Amen.