The Violence Bearer

3.  The Violence Bearer

To recap, there is no virtue in me that changed the meaning of violence in my life.  But there is Jesus, who was subjected (in humble reliance on his Father’s goodness and loving-kindness) to the collective brutality of every sin.  On the cross He absorbed every violence that ever was, and ever would be.  By doing this he enabled the forgiveness of every sin (past, present, and future) for everyone who would call on him for forgiveness.

After all, every violation of God’s good law is ultimately against God and his son Jesus (and the Holy Spirit).  The historical figure of King David makes this very clear in his response to the prophet Nathan’s rebuke of him for killing Uriah and taking Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.  When confronted with his violence and covetousness David says, “I have sinned against the Lord [God]” (2 Samuel 12:13).

All of my sin (my specific violent acts and thoughts included) is ultimately against Jesus.  He is blameless and completely undeserving of my attacks against him.  Because he is blameless, he is ever willing to forgive my sin against him.  And only he can forgive me in a complete way.  Sure, I am required to ask forgiveness from people when I harm them.  It is part of the recovery process to confess my failings to those I fail and commit to do better in the future.  But I do it because the other person is a Jesus-image-bearer, that is, they are a person created to be like Jesus in significant ways.  Ultimately, I attempt to destroy the very image of Christ in a person when I commit violence against them.

And it is Jesus’ rule in my own life that I shun when I take vengeance into my own hands.  It is like saying to Jesus, “I am unwilling to wait for you to make things right (as I have defined right).  I have decided how I want things to go and, if I deem it necessary, I will use violence to accomplish my will.”  He died from that brutalization.  I did not have to be physically present at the cross for my violence to affect him.  God crushed Jesus with the violence from my hand and the hand of every human being who had, or ever would, live on earth.  And Jesus cried out because he knew he had been forsaken by his Father in this way.

But then God changed everything.  He raised Jesus from the dead by his terrible, unfathomable, delightfully incredible power.  And Jesus makes it possible for violence to become virtuous.

CLICKHERE to read the entire essay.

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