I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember. My Christianness predates my Phillies fandom, my Survivor-mania, even my innate wandering spirit. Seems I’ve always known about God and Jesus and the cross and how I’d be nothing without Him, nothing without those two coarse beams of wood.
And yet something about the cross irks me.
I see people with gold chains and a dangling cross around their necks, and I don’t see them saying and doing what I’d expect the original Bearer of that cross to say and do. I see tattoos of crosses on people’s arms and necks and chests, and again with the disconnect.
Why are we so eager to brand ourselves with this ancient symbol, only to disregard everything this symbol symbolizes?
I don’t wear a cross necklace or any necklace, for that matter, and I don’t have any tattoos. In recent years I’ve thought about pursuing a tattoo, perhaps one to commemorate my road trip tied into my faith. Beyond the unrelenting permanency of such a mark, I don’t know that I could live with the inescapable, hypocritical accusations.
“Hi, I’m Tom and I’m a Christian…”
“…and I still look at porn.”
“…and I still hate the church.”
“…and I still don’t trust God.”
“…and here’s my cross because I’m a Christian.”
Who am I to bear a cross when so much of my self-centered being stands centered against everything the cross proclaims: victory, redemption, love?
You see, I’m an awful person. You don’t see the real me like I do, and the real me is the worst. He’s selfish, he’s greedy, he’s lust-driven, he’s addicted, he’s detached, and he’s an emotional mess.
“Hi, I’m Tom…”
“…and I don’t deserve victory.”
“…and I don’t deserve redemption.”
“…and I certainly don’t deserve love.”
“…and take away this cross because I cannot be called a Christian.”
And this is when I hate the cross all the more. Because when I’m convinced of the swirling void of my worth, the cross stands over me and marks me with its shadow anyway. With permanent ink and an unchangeable chain.
Whether I see it or not.
This is Day 19 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.