Jesus really should hate me.
I judge Judas, but the truth is, I stabbed my friend in the back for far less than 30 pieces of silver. I traded him for lust, pleasure and cheap thrills; and I sealed it all with a kiss–my pledge of devotion. I loved Him… I really did, but I loved other things more.
And it killed me that I was the reason He had to die. I spent years reminding myself of that fact–trying to beat myself up for it, to punish myself for the things I had done. “I’m the reason He had to die,” I repeat over and over and over again in that hollow church sanctuary. “I’m the reason He had to die,” I say, as I cut myself, punishing myself for all the wrong I’ve done.
“I’m the reason He had to die.” …I think if I can feel worse, it will make it all better.
But the truth is, He didn’t have to die.
He could have left me in those dark corners, addicted and lost in my own selfish desires.
He could have started over–deemed me a failed experiment (God knows I would have).
He could have decided I wasn’t worth it and moved on to people who were easier to deal with.
But He didn’t.
He chose to die. Not because God forced Him, not because this was His destiny, not because it made Him any holier.
But “for the joy that was set before Him, [He] endured the cross.”
And you know what that joy was? You. Me.
We are His prize, His joy. What a joke, I think. I want to yell at him that He made a mistake. I’m no prize. My sacrifices don’t amount to much and I’ve failed Him more times than I can count.
… But you can’t reason with a man in love and you can’t dim the light in a Father’s eyes when He looks at His daughter.
In His eyes, I belong. I am His. I am His beloved–a strong woman loved by the perfect man. I don’t have to punish myself or atone for my guilt. It was finished, when he declared it so. I’m forgiven and I’m free, clothed in His perfection alone and all my imperfections are no more.
I don’t deserve His love, but I have it–overflowing and unconditional, and today is a reminder that no one can take that away from me. For now I am sure that not even death will do us part.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39