The Death of a Criminal.

We are by far our own worst depreciators. And so we need someone who will appreciate us. We need someone to believe in us. Someone who will love on us. Someone who will remind us of who we are and what we’re meant for. Someone who will hold us accountable to our acts, thoughts, and deeds. Someone who will give us hope when all is lost. Someone who will put us on our feet again and dust us off, and then continue on walking with us. Someone who will be honest with and tell us the truth. Someone who will be the way out when there isn’t one. Someone who will tell us we are beautiful creations when we can barely meet our own eyes in the mirror morning after morning. Someone who will destroy our demons, not just put them in cages and give us advice on how to train them so they behave better. Someone who will break into the deepest parts of our self defenses, just to prove that it’s actually a prison and prison is no place to live. Someone who will free us from our chains that we put on ourselves and have had others put on us, not pass us a gun and say, “it’s like roulette. I hope you get lucky and make the right choice.” But the answer is not in us. It never was. We do not live for ourselves Sometimes we find it hard enough to live with our selves. Is that why we celebrate like we’re going to die tomorrow? But I don’t want to die tomorrow. Or today. I want to live today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. I want to party like everyday is new, because everyday will be, and because it’s a new day of my life that I get to live to the fullest. But I can’t have any of that without love to first set me free. A love that would meet me in whatever place I’m at, and then not leave me there. A love that wouldn’t be afraid or disgusted by my disfigured heart that couldn’t stand the very thought of its own self beating. A love that would take on the crushing weight of the consequences and accountability I had been running from but knowingly never escaping. I knew because whenever I was out of breath from running and slowed down enough to think about my life, the weight of dread would come and try to suffocate the rest of the life out of me. A love that would find me and give me hope, because I was lost and chained, and exhausted, and alone. Because alone with only all my demons for company was not a good place to be. And so love came. And when I was covered in my own shame and filth and blood, He took the chains off me so I could rise from having my face in the dust, and wore them around himself. He lifted my weary head so He could study every detail on this face of mine and keep it in crystal- clear resolution in the forefront of His mind as He died in my place. My death. The death of a criminal. Why me? I am not worth dying for, I thought. But that thought holds no weight anymore, and now it holds no truth either because I live for someone else, and He is truth. And I abide by His truth because He tells me that He endured that wretched death because I was His reward. I do not have to own what I have done anymore, because He owns me and paid for me in full. The highest price – He paid for me while others shamed Him, when He took on their filth, and when they screamed for His blood. He knows who I am. He knew what I did, and what I would do. And He reached into my lonely darkness, craddling my wretched and failing heart in His pierced hands, and whispered, “Mine.” And before my eyes He became all that I had ever wanted but knew I never deserved. He became my faith that I was meant for more, because it is He who grants faith. He gave me hope, because that is what He is to me. And when all failed, He did not, because love cannot, and He is love. “Love never fails…So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.” -From 1 Corinthians 13 ESV

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