Love your Cross
By Maggie McClelland
Whenever I watch the Passion of the Christ movie, I get so scared. It is so hard to see so much pain and so much torment. Scripture says perfect love casts out all fear, so why am I afraid to see the greatest example of love in the history? Think of your best friend, or mom, or someone you really love. You don’t only love them for what they can do for you, or only when they are happy and living their best life, you love them even more when they are crying, or broken, or sick. The same must apply to loving Jesus. We cannot only love Him when He is consoling us, or when we feel His presence, or when He is speaking words of love in the Scriptures. We cannot love Jesus just for what He does for us. We must love Him when He is horrific to look at, when He is sweating blood, when He is rejected by all and His wounds make Him almost unrecognizable. To love Jesus is to love His disgusting, bloody, beautiful cross— and that’s what scares me.
I must learn to love this element of torture, this thing of shame, and this seemingly dead end. That means that we must love our own crosses because Jesus says: “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself take up his crosses daily and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) No one likes to suffer but when He gives us the “gift of suffering” it is an invitation to come to Him, and to use this suffering to bring about the greatest good because that is what He did with His own suffering. So, let us be in love with our crosses as He was in love with His, because they are the way we grow closest to our Savior. My theology teacher shared with us His favorite quote and I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like: the other side of the cross is reserved for us so that we may be nailed to Him in perfect and complete love. That’s a wake-up call! I’m barely able to stop complaining, keep a good prayer time, and not swear. Exercising this perfect love scares me because I am not strong enough. But that’s the thing, I don’t have to be! That’s why He died, so that He could be enough for me and that I would not have to go through anything alone. He loved His cross because He loved to save us, so let us follow His example and embrace our crosses out of love for Him.