There he is again. The guilt settles on his shoulders like snakes with weights, coiling around him, pulling him down deeper. He sinks into the quicksand of his own self-abasement and abandons the thought of change. He did it again—looped another porn video; broke his promise to end the addiction. He vowed to change, but it’s too difficult. Whatever momentary pleasure he had is overcome by a wash of emptiness and shame. He’s dirty once more, mind stained. Worth stained. Perhaps some things don’t change.
There she is again. The shame winds around her neck, pressing down to her chest as the unborn infant kicks in her growing belly. The glaring evidence screams of whatever sinful relationship she had. It doesn’t help that her dad’s the pastor and her mom’s a minister. Everyone among the pews knows. The curious looks. The spiteful whispers? They sound like clanging horns rattling her skull. She can’t hide forever. The pain always finds her.
There he is again, alone in the car, his knuckles turning white as he grips the steering wheel. The speedometer races up to a dangerous speed. His wife told him to leave. He said he was sorry. The affair ended, but it was too late to win her back. What will his kids think of him? There’s nothing left to fight for. Flight is the only option left—one big pitiful flight. He hits the gas pedal, but he can’t run away from the gnawing emptiness. No one’s coming after him.
There He is. Skin flies from his back as the whips bite into muscle. The blood drips in scarlet rivulets and fountains. Deep. Hot. Excruciating. There’s a saying in the Law—how death and decay make one unclean. And there he stands, a bleeding mess, a few hours away from becoming the greatest uncleanliness of all. He is dirty now, blood stained. Mud-stained.
Yet the joy is set before Him: “If I must become unclean to set him free, then I’ll wear all this blood and dirt, so that he finds grace in Me.”
There He is. The rags he wears are ripped from his broken body. Sin and nails settle on his hands and feet, trapping Him in a naked display on the wretched cross. Bloodied and battered body parts are exposed to the public eyes. The crowd shouts ridicule. Onlookers whisper in contempt. This is shame. This is judgment. This is pain.
Yet the joy is set before Him: “If I must bear her shame to heal her, then I’ll take the ridicule, so that she may stand in purity.”
There he is. The abandonment wrings his soul. The anguish unravels worse than the thorns, the whips, the nails, the insults. To be forsaken by God Himself, cut off from His Father’s presence? The silence fills his lungs, like black emptiness settling in abandoned caverns. This is what it means to be left behind. This is what it means to drink the consequence of sin—there are no chances to escape the punishment it requires. No running. No escaping.
Yet the joy is set before him, and he endures: “If I am abandoned, so that he will never be alone nor out of My reach despite his mistakes, then so be it.”
The price is paid for your second, third, infinite chances. Because of Christ, you have the freedom now. You are free to claim the rights of a son/daughter of the Most High. You are free to plead His blood and face the Father in cleaner robes, in pure standing, in the righteousness bought for you.
This is how Love redeems. This is how Love fights for the unclean, rescues the shamed, and seeks those who have been lost. The Messiah has paid it all.
You’ll never run out of chances with Him.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5: 21
First published at One Voice Magazine
Featured photo by Aaron Burden