Of course Jesus didn’t need help carrying His Cross! He could have thrown it up the hill. Or a legion of angels could have flown it up. But His Cross is not His Cross—it’s our Cross. So, it’s only fitting that we should be helping Jesus carry our Cross. I know. Sounds like more religious mumbo-jumbo from me. But listen and I’ll explain. It’s not about “religion.” It’s about life.
Jesus came to save us. To nail to the Cross every sin we have committed or will commit. That’s the whole point of His time on earth. To banish our sins. But hold on. It takes two to tango. We need to do our part in carrying that Cross. We need to accept responsibility for our sins. We need to repent. Jesus is with us every step of the way. We just need to be with Him. We need to take part of the burden.
We live in times where everyone wants to point the finger at the other person’s faults but ignore their own. From news pundits to politicians to lawyers our “role models” are paragons of virtues—or so they think. So, we emulate this behavior. I’m always right and perfect. You’re the one wrong and flawed. Or so I think.
None of us are perfect and we each have a cross to bear in life. Some larger than others but we all have our crosses. Jesus is there to help carry the Cross but we need to be side-by-side with Him. Forget that carrying the Cross happened over 2,000 years ago. It happens every day in living this life.
What does this all mean in a very practical sense? Take responsibility for your actions. Fix your flaws before you’re so quick to jump on others’ flaws. Reflect on what you did right and wrong each day. Correct your mistakes. Fix the wrongs. Accentuate the rights. Live the life to the fullest that Jesus gave you by his death on the Cross. Be thankful. Be joyful!
Sorry for what may sound like some heavy religious mumbo-jumbo but this is my new visual. Nails in or out? Meaning, Jesus was nailed to the Cross for our sins. Yes, yours and mine, as well as every other person, dead, alive, and to be born. So, we’re either there helping to nail Him to the Cross or trying to take the nails out. Pretty compelling visual, at least for me.
It’s that simple, We’re either sinning and effectively hammering those nails in or doing our best to repent and pulling those nails out. If Jesus died for our sins—past, present, and future—we’re either sinning or trying to stop sinning. We’re either indifferent or trying to fix our failings. Nails in or nails out? It’s either one of the other. There is no in between!
I screw up all the time. I identify with St. Paul who wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) I know exactly what I should do because I know what God expects me to do. But I screw up. Why? I just don’t know.
The good thing about screwing up—if there is any good in screwing up—is that God forgives me. As long as I know I screw up, ask forgiveness, and really try to not screw up, God is there with open arms. God loves and loves unconditionally.
There was a reason God sent His only Son Jesus to deal with our sins. They were nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Our job is to pull those nails out and atone for those sins.
If you know what God expects, especially in how you should live your life, it’s even worse when you screw up. I’m dealing with that right now. But for every step back in life you may take, you have to commit to taking at least two steps ahead. That’s how you move forward in life. I can’t undo my screw ups but I can move ahead and do better.
You and I put Jesus on the cross. We had a hand in each nail strike. That’s because Jesus hung on that bloody cross to save us. Every day we are either taking the nails out to get Jesus off our personal cross or hammering them back in. This week I did some hammering as I let the noise of the world overwhelm me. Continue reading →