We see that in 1 Peter 2:21: You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps.
What kind of endurance? The kind of endurance that does not demand justice at every turn (or whatever your passion/lust centers around). The kind that leads with love. The cross serves as a gruesome and beautiful reminder that picking up our cross is not a metaphor but a lifestyle. One that doesn’t guarantee winners, in fact, it pretty much promises that we have to make peace with being a loser.
If I am inspired and appreciative of the love of God, then I demonstrate that by lovingly holding my son’s story of being treated in a degrading manner without trying to change the punchline with vigilante justice.
I must sit with my friend in his suffering during the divorce, but I cannot encourage him to retaliate or try to beat his spouse at her own game of manipulation.
This, frankly, is an unnatural and difficult way to live.
“The sign [the cross] of disgrace and exclusion, the sign of failure, is turned inside out to be a sign of that unique freedom which is God’s freedom to be God whatever we do. But it is also a sign of the riskiness, the vulnerability, which such freedom must mean.” (p.15 The Sign and The Sacrifice)
I watched at my mother’s funeral as my brother extended his hand to people who couldn’t meet his steady gaze. I couldn’t do it myself. I stood at a distance and hoped that these folks, whose choices during the last days of my mother’s life had caused so very much pain would not come within swinging distance of my clinched fist. I didn’t trust myself to remember the cross. But my brother remembered. And I will NEVER forget what he taught me that day.
In order for a symbol to serve its purpose, it must call us to right action. We must DO what we say we BELIEVE. Some days we can, some days we cannot. My prayer is that on any given day SOMEONE in my hut, my community, my family, can represent if I cannot.