The Cross Your Bear

Our Lord said that whoever does not take up their cross and follow Him cannot be His disciple.The cross we bear

The cross our Lord speaks of is defined by His cross. His cross was taken up by Him to carry the wrath of God on His shoulders for other people – for all sinners. His cross was the stripes He received for the healing of other people. His cross was the chastisement meant for other people. His cross was reconciliation between God and sinful man, not between God the Father and God the Son. His cross is divine love.

In short, Jesus’ cross was not for Himself. It was not for His good. It was not for His growth. It was not to strengthen Him. It was not to make Him a stronger child of God. His cross wasn’t for Him at all. It was for us.

So your cross is not for you. It isn’t there for your good. It isn’t there for your growth. it isn’t there to strengthen you or make you a stronger child of God. Your cross is there for other people.

Which means your cross is laid on your shoulders by and for other people. As St. Peter preached to the sinful men on Pentecost Day that they crucified the Lord of Glory, so we are crucified by the sins of others. Our cross does not bring divine atonement, but  it does bring 1 Corinthians 13. Love bears all things.

This also means that your sickness; it’s not your cross. Your debt; it’s not your cross. Your lack of a job; it’s not your cross. Your broken down car; it’s not your cross. Your hard class at school; it’s not your cross. All the crap that seems to be going wrong in your life; these aren’t your crosses. They are the fiery trials of which you are not supposed to be surprised that they are upon you. They are the testing of your obedience. They are the forming of your character. They are the temptations that are sure to come. Tempting you to question your heavenly Father’s love. These produce endurance and hope and all godly qualities as you patiently endure them, trusting in your heavenly Father. These trials are for you, but they are not your crosses.

But when you learn obedience by what you suffer, then you will take up your cross and bear its load for other people. Your cross is what you suffer because of the sins of others. Your cross is your forgiveness as your heavenly Father has forgiven you. Your cross is when you patiently suffer for the sins of others so that you can forgive them. Your cross is when you are kind to those that hurt you. Your cross is when you do not boast in yourself, but wait for the vindication of the Lord when your reputation is smeared or your body is violated or when your family deserts and hates you, knowing that a better and more permanent glory awaits you. Your cross is you not insisting on your own way, which would be to call down lightening and thunder on those who would do you wrong and are your enemies. Your cross doesn’t resent those for whom you are crucified, but rejoices in the truth that your sins are forgiven as are the sins of those that hate you. For the Lamb of God bore the sins of the whole world; not for us only, but for all humankind.

And having been tested and found faithful, having born the cross for others, forgiving as you have been forgiven and loving as you have been loved, then there awaits for you the crown of life. For the Lord did not simply say to take up your cross, but to follow Him. Follow Him through the temptations and fiery trials. Follow Him to Golgotha. Follow Him into the tomb. Follow Him out of the tomb. And then follow Him to eternal life and the glory of God.

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