By his blood, he reconciled us. By his wounds, we are healed.
It’s understandable, avoiding the people who’ve hurt us. Who wants to spend time with the ones who teased us, called us names, bruised our egos and perhaps our bodies? It’s why family and high school reunions are about staying disconnected from those who hurt us almost as much as they are about reconnecting with those who love us. Some of us are haunted by the hurts we’ve suffered over the years and have no interest in an encore performance.
But what about the ones we’ve hurt? More specifically, what about the ones I’ve hurt? Facing them is looking in the mirror and seeing my own pettiness and aggression. It’ not a pleasant experience and it takes a great deal of strength to do it willingly. I’d much rather see my good deeds and intentions without the darker aspects that are visible in my true reflection. If I don’t see the harm I’ve done, I can pretend there are no consequences and no reparations necessary. It’s a negative riff on the “ignorance is bliss” theme.
But avoiding and denying the damage I’ve done is a snare for my soul. I’m trapped, repeating the same hurtful mistakes over and over. Only by facing the hurt and the harm, only by admitting my part in it can release me. If I learn the painful lesson that I have done harm, I can choose another action in the future.
I think that’s why the cross is such a powerful truth: I have harmed someone and avoided seeing my own faults. When I see the cross, I can choose another way. But it’s more than that. When I see the Jesus who suffered, I see in him forgiveness I don’t deserve. It’s not just a lesson learned and a pattern broken, its the love of God gazing at me with compassion in his eyes.