jesus hieronymous boschReflections on Holy Week – Wednesday

Do you ever turn into the “Me” Monster? Someone else is talking and instead of actively listening, you’re really just waiting until you can tell them something about yourself? Or anytime something bad happens to someone, your immediate thought is, “Wow, I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.” Or something bad does happen to you and you cry out, “Why does this always happen to me?!”

We can do the same thing when Christ asks us to do something that we don’t want to in our lives. We don’t want to love our enemies. There is a great reason why they are our enemies in the first place! We don’t want to stand up for our beliefs if they are unpopular. Why take the hit when we can keep silent and fit in? We’ve made it to the top of the heap and we want to stay there. We are popular, powerful, attractive, well off, secure, loved. And we don’t realize how ugly that makes us or how far that is from Christ’s final moments.

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Matthew 27:41-44 (NIV)

“Too often, especially among Christians, we become insular and sectarian. Our faith fortifies our prejudices instead of expanding our reach towards others. When matters turn for the worse, the ugliness of our souls is too often revealed. We scapegoat and, forgetting the lesson of the Good Samaritan, we become indifferent to the suffering of others.” – Eddie Glaude, Jr.

The ugliness of my soul is too often revealed. I have to admit that when I am challenged, I can get nasty. I fire off an email written while I was angry. I figure out a reason why I am right and they are wrong and then I use that to justify my behavior and condemn theirs. And I put myself above all others.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34 (NIV)

This painting reminds me that even as Christ was mocked, he was still Christ. Concerned for his mother and his friends, blessing the thief at his side, even forgiving those who gambled for his clothes.

Too often Jesus suffers without me. I disregard his teachings. I abandon what I see as his lost causes and hopeless cases. I turn my back on my friends. I scheme at how to get back at those who have wronged me. I put myself first, which is me at my worst. I give Jesus every reason to come down from the cross and tell God that I am not worth saving. But even still….he lays down his life for me. And he lays down his life for you.

At our worst, Christ is at his best.

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