Friday, May 01, 2009

Righteous Indignation Part 2

Several years ago my father gave me a gold sovereign. It is a British coin, solid gold, worth about $120Can in earthly value, but to me it is priceless. Some people wear crosses around their necks, but I wear my gold coin. There is a picture on one side of the coin that is supposed to be St. George killing the dragon, but to me it is a representation of Jesus in the act of destroying what the enemy tried to accomplish in my life...

It was Psalm 18 that helped me to understand how God felt about the abuse I suffered as a child and teenager. The psalmist talks about being in a terrible place, but then he cries out to God.

His cry is heard in the psalm and God responds with fierce anger. I understand that anger as being over what the enemy tried to do to me and to all of us... He did everything he could to take us out. But God had other plans...

There were humans involved in the enemy's plans. Some of them were people I was supposed to be able to trust. God gave them to me to take care of me (as I learned from my friend, Dave) but they didn't. Some of them hurt me instead.

Forgiveness was a difficult concept for me to get. How do you just "let go" of wrongs? It totally violates my innate sense of justice. Someone has to pay for what was done to me. Someone HAS to pay.

Someone did.

The answer is in Isaiah 53. It's the first few words of the 10th verse of that chapter which I think is the most difficult and saddest phrase in the entire Bible. Isaiah 53 is clearly talking about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. And the 10th verse begins, referring to the Father, "He was pleased to crush him..."

He was pleased to crush him. Jesus. His Son.

Someone paid all right. The anger God felt in Psalm 18 was poured out on his own Son. Jesus paid for what was done to me, and he paid dearly. He paid for what I have done to others too. It was all squared away 2000 plus years ago on a hill called Calvary.

I can't imagine what it took for the Father to willfully pour the penalty of my sin out on his own perfect Son, the One in whom he declared he was "well pleased". But he did. He was pleased, the New American Standard Version says, to crush him.

That's why I can forgive. It's not a blind letting go. It's knowing that the sins done to me have been paid for in full. And it's knowing that the sins I have perpetrated on others have been paid for too. I stand on the same side of the cross as those who have sinned against me, and those I have sinned against too.

He was pleased to crush his Son. For me.

The song by Guy Penrod says it all. I couldn't find it on Youtube, but here are the lyrics, nonetheless...

I know a place
A wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with Him
There on the cross

At the cross,
He died for my sins
At the cross,
He gave us life again
At the cross,
He died for my sins
At the cross,
He gave us life again


Anonymous said...

Susan, that was a beautifully clear and painfully honest post. Thank you for that, and for your "shocking" explanation of sin and its payment.

The gospel should shock us, to the core.

Belinda said...

Wow, Susan, the post was wonderful in word and message and I LOVE the photo of your gold sovereign.

Joanna Mallory said...

Funny, Susan, I was thinking earlier this morning about how "the wrath of God" is sort of a taboo subject because it makes people uncomfortable. But abuse, injustice, loss of innocence... they make me angry... of course they anger the God who created us all!

I like how you point out that we all stand on the same side of the Cross: people who've caused great hurt and people who are mostly nice. There's no one too evil or too good for the Cross.

Perhaps people are disturbed by the concept of God's anger because they want to demand "Then why aren't You doing anything about it?"

You've reminded us so well that He did do something about it. And the story isn't finished yet although the price has been paid.