The Mystery of the Cross

Monday 23 March 2009

Jesus on the cross identifies with the human problem, the sin, the darkness. He refuses to stand above or outside the human dilemma. Further, he refuses to be the scapegoater, and instead becomes the scapegoat personified.

In Paul’s language, “Christ redeemed us from the curse…by being cursed himself” (Galatians 3:13); or “God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him [together with him!], we might become the very goodness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Wow! Just gaze upon that mystery for a few years!

Evil is not overcome by attack or even avoidance, but by union at a higher level. It is overcome not by fight or flight, but rather by “fusion”!

Richard Rohr from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 189

God became human so the human can become a god. Noice work :)

I had some vague experience of this when I was talking last night about ... oh, to me, the worst thing about myself ever, the thing that creeps me out the most, the failure of leaving my marriage. I was talking with Mark a little about why I was, as he put it, "stymied", why I felt stifled and unable to pursue the things I wanted to pursue while being married to him.

We didn't talk too long about it because I don't understand it. It upsets me and it scares me. It is a blindness in my soul and it scares me that it will always be there, this giant numb hole. But to even be able to talk about this thing I have been so so ashamed and embarrassed about - there is healing simply in the talking.

But today I feel hopeful for this ... monster part of me (this is how it feels like). Not that it is going to go away in one fell swoop, obviously. Everything is tediously processural. But just that there is the chance that it might.

That hope comes from putting it out there in the open. The world doesn't collapse in on itself when you do. It makes me understand from experience how it is that hiding my bad behaviour is to do more evil to myself on top of that which originated my bad behaviour in the first place. And I don't want to hate Susie that I'll keep treating her like that.

It's much easier to discuss it these days. Mark has a new life, with a new girlfriend, and he is happy. But it is still painful for him - I can see it in his eyes - and for me too, and so there is great poignancy to the discussion. But you can't discuss your evildoing without forgiveness being asked for and forgiveness granted. This is surely the way giant chasms form in relationships, big enough so that trust and the kitchen table fall down the middle, when people refuse to admit the damage they do to each other.

It deprives you of the honey that flows from the forgiveness once granted, and the grace and dignity that is attached to this holy ground of confession and absolution. And the way that the bad behaviour floats down to smaller sizes when it happens. And then suddenly you can see a bit further than you could before. This is healing. Of the incremental variety.

I am grateful to be on the receiving end of forgiveness granted. It explodes the hope out, like seed pods on the wind.


  1. Hallelujah! forgiveness rules!! Jesus rules! He is filling the hole baby!

  2. It sounds like you're making some significant progress in healing...never easy, always painful but worth it for the results. What I kept thinking as I read this is that what happens to us in life, especially as children, affects us in such profound ways. It makes me angry...its not fair. But life is not suppose to fair right? Or is it? I can never figure God out on that issue.

  3. CB - I hope so. You never can quite tell, you know? I mean, I believe that he shall do that at some point in the future, but will he do it now? Is that what is happening? I just don't know! But now I've got this hope-carved niche to sit in and hope in. Nice :)

    Patti! - It's totally not fair is it, what happens to us, how it reverberates through our whole lives. It is the worst kind of unfair :(

    I guess the not-entirely-satisfying-sounding conclusion I sit in at the moment is that for some reason these things happen. And yet I do believe despite that that God is with us in those situations, and at some point will make them all right in a way that will confound us. Somehow the wounds we carry now will be our beauty. That is a comfort I guess. It's not how I would have done it personally, though, that's for sure.

    I suppose I think that life is definitely and absolutely and angrifyingly not fair now in millions of ways, but in some mystical crazy way there is a place to stand in it somehow if there is the creative chance that it shall all be made right. But yeah, makes me angry too for all of us who suffered and continue to suffer for what other fuckwitted morons have done to us !!


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