Put your finger here; see my hands.(John 20:27)
Thursday, February 18
I’ve got a good friend who coordinates a week-long Christian camp for teenagers on the campus of Abilene Christian University every summer. A few summers ago on the last night of the camp the teens experienced a dramatic object lesson. The theme of the camp all week was how, through Jesus, one can become a new person and have a new identity.
On the last night of the camp the teens were given white robes to wear and were asked to write on those robes whatever sins and darkness that had marked their lives. At the end of the evening they each took their robes and nailed them to a large wooden crosses which were erected on the intramural field. That night, while the campers were asleep, the camp counselors took down the robes, washed and bleached them white again, and nailed them back up on those crosses. The next morning the campers were told to go out to the intramural fields and inspect their robes. There they were, white as snow, and they were encouraged to take them down and put them on as a symbol of what Jesus does for them.
One camper who was there was from Littleton, Colorado. He was in the library on the tragic day of the mass shooting at Columbine High. He had been shot six times. He had a painful recovery and his time at the Christian camp had been challenging and emotional. Understandably, he was struggling with issues of forgiveness given what had happened to him and his friends that day in the library. He was hurt in more ways than just physically and he was angry. But something happened when he took down his robe off that cross. He noticed as he took down his robe that there were six random holes in the cross where the nails were that held up his robe.
At that given moment, he had a profound awareness that Jesus understood what it was to be innocent and on the receiving end of a violent ambush. Jesus had taken the bullets with him that day in Columbine. And at that moment he sensed a release and peace the likes of which he hadn’t seen since the shooting. His youth minister later said it was as though the student had done a lifetime of therapy in an hour at the cross.
This isn’t to say that therapists aren’t needed in cases of healing from severe traumatic experiences. But it is to say that the cross is imperative for any healing to take place our lives when we’ve suffered immensely in the face of wrongdoing.
We are not alone in when it comes to the difficult challenge of extending forgiveness in the face of great wrongdoing.
There is One beside us who bears the scars of a cross.
Grace and peace,
Posted on Thu, February 18, 2016
by Chris Seidman