By ANNIE WESCHE
Walking through the house, I called out for my mom. I was carrying a heavy load of personal hurt that was growing increasingly painful, and I was hoping for a little magical-motherly-advice on what I should do about it.
I was around 18 years old and had been emotionally wounded by a dear friend. Looking back, I have a faint memory that it was something she said and a bit clearer memory of how truly painful it felt, but to this day, I don’t remember what it actually was. What I do remember is what my mother said to me. Her response has stayed with me all these years, coming to mind many times, and having the power, again and again, to shift my struggling heart onto a glorious truth.
“Annie, are you crucified with Christ?” This was the simple and gentle reply she gave after patiently listening to me lay out all the details of the painful situation.
“Yes.” I said with certainty — a hint of a question mark at the end, wondering where she was going with this.
“Then any offense or hurt you have taken, died with Christ on the Cross. Is He offended? Or has He forgiven? How does He look on those who have wronged Him? What does He feel towards them? Does He harbor hurt, or does He offer grace?” She pulled me close into her comforting arms, leaned in, and whispered, “Choose to walk in freedom from what you feel, and instead, respond to your friend with God’s love.”
I am crucified with Christ. I sat in silence as my mind savored those words and my heart freshly absorbed them. I no longer live, but He lives in me. Such a simple reminder of a truly profound, world-altering reality; and as I submitted my feelings and emotions to the Lord, it had the power to immediately begin transforming my heart. My eyes shifted away from what was done to me, and my view broadened to see both who I was in Christ and what His heart was towards my friend. Could I cling to unforgiveness, when my precious Savior had already died for this, and His response to the greatest of offenses was love and grace and forgiveness? In surrendering my feelings to Jesus and looking to His heart, I could see a clear path of love to take with the friendship and how I could address the situation, rather than being stuck in a barrage of feelings.
I am crucified with Christ. A dead person can take no offense. No feelings can be hurt. No pride can be wounded. No grudge can be held. No bitterness can grow. No depression can consume.
I no longer live, but Christ lives in me! A person ALIVE in Christ has access to the very enabling power of God to live an impossible life. His life. And in Him, we experience the peaceful joy of His grace, forgiveness, compassion, and love. For ages and generations this type of living has changed the world — starting in the soul that chooses to believe it, and from there, touching all those they encounter.
I understand that this isn’t something that comes easily. In fact, it’s utterly impossible apart from abiding in the life of Jesus. There are times when I am baited to be hurt, offended, frustrated, etc., and in that moment, I can easily wallow in my own means to “deal” or I can purpose to once again turn to the Lord in faith and exchange my hurt for His forgiveness, my thoughts for His, my lack of grace for His abundant grace, my offense for His love. Our faith-led responses are like muscles needing to be purposefully exercised or else they grow weak. We must choose in every situation to deny that rising, fleshly reaction, and instead, fix our mind and heart on this transforming truth: I am crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but He lives in me! Lord, how do You live in this situation? How do You respond to this person?
IT IS OF NO MATTER WHAT THE WORLD THINKS OF US,
BUT IT IS EVERYTHING WHAT THEY KNOW AND THINK OF JESUS.
No matter how great or small the offenses and hurts may be that we experience, they are no match for the power of Jesus. And if we truly want to be free, His Life is where that freedom is found.
Dear sisters, let us get very near to our Savior. Let us abide daily in His life. Let us get familiar with His heart and character, and pray for that character to be grown mightily within our own soul! And let us purpose to surrender our emotions to the Lord and exchange them for His heart and truth. It is of no matter what the world thinks of us, but it is everything what they know and think of Jesus. Allow every hurt and offense to melt at the foot of His Cross, and turn and walk down the hill of Calvary into this world with His Life beating within your surrendered vessel and His light of love shining in your eyes.