A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Have you been told to keep your focus at the foot of the cross?

“Keep your focus at the foot of the cross” is often dished out by those who consider themselves Christians. It’s a common mantra in Christianese. It’s used by accredited Christian counselors, church leaders, pew warmers, tin-pot evangelists… you name it.

The saying is easy to learn and repeat parrot fashion, like a mantra. Or like the instructions on the medicine packet: “take one with water three times a day with meals, and one at bedtime”.

Have you ever pondered about what “keep your focus at the foot of the cross” means? If you have, you may have wondered

1. Which cross?  — because there were three crosses

  • the cross of the man who repented
  • the cross of the unrepentant man
  • the cross on which Jesus was nailed

2. Which individuals at the foot of the cross / crosses?

  • good individuals? — perhaps including soldiers
  • bad individuals?  — including whited sepulchers
  • “average” individuals?
  • the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’s clothing?
  • individuals present but not referenced in the Bible?

3. Perhaps Jesus’ foot, nailed to the cross?

“Jesus’ foot nailed to the cross” is a legitimate interpretation of “the foot of the cross”. Folks who interpret words concretely and folks who think about the multiple meanings of the word “foot” may well ask the question: Whose foot? Jesus’ foot?

Over to you, dear readers

What are your experiences, thoughts and reflections on the advice to “keep you eyes on the foot of the cross” or “keep your focus on the foot of the cross” or “keep your eyes on the cross” …or any other variants of that saying.

47 Comments

  1. Lori

    When a person says this to me, I interpret it to be akin to saying “mind your own business”. The person is asking me to look at my own faults that cause me to kneel at the foot of the cross and repent at Jesus feet for what I have done…. rather than point out someone else’s faults or draw attention to someone’s abusive behavior.

    • Helovesme

      I read your comment a week ago I think, and I found it to be so profound. Only got a chance now to respond to it.

      The comment resonated with me, but I never thought of it QUITE how you put it (mind your own business). But that made a lot of sense to me when I gave it some thought.

      My father was my abuser and he is unsaved. But this applies to those that claim to be Christians but that claim CAN be legitimately challenged. In both cases, I was the victim of being sinned against.

      It works something like this. You don’t know why this person sinned against you. You don’t know what is or isn’t going on in their lives, in their minds. You can’t change or control them but you can kneel at the foot of the cross and deal with your own issues, which are many, and which you CAN do something about. Leave that person or those persons to God. Let Him deal with them.

      The “mind your own business” attitude is woven into this sort of speech by reminding you that their supposed sinfulness is none of your business because you can’t do anything about it. This might be the case even IF the sins done against you are acknowledged. It’s still none of your business; mind your business (aka take care of your OWN sinfulness, which IS your business) and let it all go, give it all to Him.

      That last part: let go and let God, give it all to Him (sins and all), lay it all at the foot of the cross in a sacrificial manner, as an act of worship and trusting Him—-can also be woven into the narrative to really hammer it home.

      The very notion that you are NOT worshiping, trusting and honoring Him IF you don’t admit how sinful you are and go to the foot of the cross to demonstrate that—-is particularly strong form of shaming. No real deal, sincere born again believer wants to be guilty of this.

      The fear factor involved might be enough to cause them to push aside their legitimate needs for comfort and consolation, for something that their individual sins had NOTHING do with.

      Christ suffered for the sins of the sinner, and Christ also suffered to heal the ones sinned against. All of humanity falls into both categories: we both sin and are sinned against. We need forgiveness for our sins AND we need healing from being sinned against.

      My personals sins had absolutely nothing do to with my abuser’s choice to sin against me. And vice versa. When I sin against someone, their personal sins have absolutely nothing do with MY choice to sin against them.

      Victims of abuse often do not get ministered to as they should be. For example, a person’s decision to steal has nothing to do with another person’s decision to abuse them.

      Of COURSE stealing is a sin and should be repented of. But why tell me to “go to the foot of the cross” to deal with my stealing in response to my outcry at being given a black eye?

      In my case, I have plenty of sinfulness to deal with. So when and if I’m told to “get right with Him” in response to being sinned against, I often don’t know how to respond or refute that.

      I now try to formulate a response this way: Yes, I do have anger issues. You are right in that and I am legitimately convicted of sin. But we’re not talking about my sin, we are talking about his or her sins. That persons’ sins affected me in a very personal way that I please ask you to take personally as well, and to take seriously. If, as you say, my sins are serious, that should also apply to the sins of others as well.

      I will certainly attempt to lay my sins at the foot of His cross, but that is between myself and the Lord. And my sins have nothing to do with their sins, which have wounded me badly.

      If you cannot see my wounds, inflicted on me by those sins, then I advise YOU to go to the foot of His cross and lay YOUR obvious lack of discernment at His feet. And repent, because your “counsel” to me was wicked, and does not line up with Biblical truth and doctrine.

      This is easier said than done, but it’s a place to start!

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (3RD MAY 2020 – 1:14 PM) “If you cannot see my wounds, inflicted on me by those sins, then I advise YOU to go to the foot of His cross and lay YOUR obvious lack of discernment at His feet. And repent, because your “counsel” to me was wicked, and does not line up with Biblical truth and doctrine.”

        ^That.

  2. Finding Answers

    From the original post ““Keep your focus at the foot of the cross” is often dished out by those who consider themselves Christians. It’s a common mantra in Christianese. It’s used by accredited Christian counselors, church leaders, pew warmers, tin-pot evangelists… you name it.”

    A first thought, posed as an additional question.

    How many times do individuals / institutions / books / etc. communicate keep your focus at the foot of the cross, keep your focus on the cross, keep your eyes on the cross (or any of the numerous variations on a similar theme) AND COMPLETELY OMIT MENTION OF JESUS? (Pardon my yelling in all capital letters.)

    • Helovesme

      No, I liked the all caps; I recall a Facebook comment once asking readers to lay off the “all caps” for that very reason, but sometimes (as in this case) I think it’s appropriate!

      Barb has an excellent sense of humor; I don’t know if anyone has caught that. So when she mentioned: “Whose foot? Jesus’ foot?” I think she was using humor in a very effective way.

      When Finding Answers pointed out: “AND COMPLETELY OMIT MENTION OF JESUS?” that is honestly something I didn’t catch onto—but the truth of it rings very loudly.

      There are so many expressions out there intended to make profound points but in reality they are fairly pointless and often make things either worse or do nothing at all. And many of them are “religious” in nature.

      Many persons literally watched Jesus die (and the two others) slowly and painfully die, and felt nothing. Actually, they felt like mocking and insulting them, and they did just that. The soldiers who did the nailing and raising Him up likely got splattered with His blood, and yet that didn’t do anything to them or move their hearts.

      I DO understand the intent with using such phrases—His life, poured out for us, is what matters the most to those that believe, so never lose that “focus.” Whether it’s His foot or actual cross or whatever—never forget what He did for us. Keep your eyes there.

      Bear with me here as I write this out, it WILL come full circle:

      I’ve had people talk to me when they are suffering and feel compelled to say: I know people are suffering worse than I am, maybe I should think about that, and think about them instead. I’m focusing too much on my own sufferings.

      Did it ever occur to you that there are those that are NOT suffering as badly as you are? Why aren’t THEY focusing on you, the supposed “worse” sufferer?

      Did it also ever occur to you that there are those that are suffering JUST like you, just as badly? Why aren’t such sufferers sympathizing with you, since you all know nearly exactly what the others are going through?

      Now, suffering is NOT a competition, but there ARE those that should get more attention because they need it. A broken fingernail is NOT the same thing as a broken leg.

      The “keep your eyes on His suffering” just might be used to “shame” you into daring to admit that you are suffering. Well, you’re not suffering like HE did, now, are you? No one is nailing you to jagged, rough edged pieces of wood, jamming nails into your body and raising you up for all to see? Need I remind you that He was 100% pure and perfectly sinless, unlike you?

      While it’s not necessarily wise compare their sufferings to His in these exact, precise ways—His cross was not intended to encourage unfair, unjust but religious sounding condemnation. Focusing on His sufferings CAN put your own sufferings in a kind of realistic perspective,

      But I have found that His sufferings give me great comfort when I am hurting. This is a Savior that understands suffering in all its awful forms, no matter what degree it does or doesn’t exist in. His empathy for the hurting comes from a real place of real experience.

      Humiliation has been a strong form of suffering in my life. This is a Savior who understands this precisely. While I understand that His humiliations do not and cannot compare to mine, I’m not looking to compete, I am looking for comfort.

      Also, I would caution against trying to minimize your sufferings by comparing what others are going through. There will ALWAYS be someone who is suffering more than you. If you have a black eye, someone has two black eyes. If you have a broken leg, someone has two broken legs. You can be grateful that you have a working leg while someone else does not, but shaming yourself will not do much for your own personal healing.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (3RD MAY 2020 – 1:42 PM): “There are so many expressions out there intended to make profound points but in reality they are fairly pointless and often make things either worse or do nothing at all. And many of them are “religious” in nature.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “I DO understand the intent with using such phrases—His life, poured out for us, is what matters the most to those that believe, so never lose that “focus.” Whether it’s His foot or actual cross or whatever—never forget what He did for us. Keep your eyes there.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “Now, suffering is NOT a competition…..”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “The “keep your eyes on His suffering” just might be used to “shame” you into daring to admit that you are suffering. Well, you’re not suffering like HE did, now, are you? No one is nailing you to jagged, rough edged pieces of wood, jamming nails into your body and raising you up for all to see? Need I remind you that He was 100% pure and perfectly sinless, unlike you?”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “….His cross was not intended to encourage unfair, unjust but religious sounding condemnation….”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: But I have found that His sufferings give me great comfort when I am hurting. This is a Savior that understands suffering in all its awful forms, no matter what degree it does or doesn’t exist in. His empathy for the hurting comes from a real place of real experience.”

        (Bold added by me.)

        (Very big sigh.) ^That does not (yet) apply to my own (personal) way of thinking.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “Humiliation has been a strong form of suffering in my life…..”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “….I’m not looking to compete, I am looking for comfort.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented, “Also, I would caution against trying to minimize your sufferings by comparing what others are going through…..” AND “….shaming yourself will not do much for your own personal healing.”

        ^That.

      • Finding Answers, you highlighted these words: “I have found that His sufferings give me great comfort when I am hurting.”
        And you said “(Very big sigh.) ^That does not (yet) apply to my own (personal) way of thinking”

        FWIW, when I am hurting I do not always find comfort by thinking about Jesus’ sufferings. Sometimes I do, but many times I do not. Like you, I long for comfort when I am hurting, but I often bog down in sidetracks / bogs / mires — a muddled repetitive rumination of examining my conscience and finding fault with myself.

  3. Eve

    Early on in my marriage I went out with one of my spiritual mentors for coffee and disclosed to her some examples of my ex-husband’s abusive behavior.

    I didn’t use the word abuse because I did not know that’s what it was. In her defense, maybe she did not know it either. She did say to me that she hated the way he spoke to me in public. But as my pastor, her words to me were that I just needed to fall in love with Jesus again and keep my eyes on the foot of the cross. I cried.

    I felt like a backslidden christian.

    That would become one of the recurring themes throughout the years, whenever I shared with other church leaders and counselors how unhappy I was in my marriage (due to the verbal and emotional abuse). Once a church counselor stated that I had lost my first love and quoted Rev. for me to repent. Again I cried…and repented…and the abuse continued.

    [Additional spacing added between paragraphs for readability. Editors.]

    • Helovesme

      I’m so sorry for how you were spoken to! Sadly, I’ve been on both sides of the table—I’ve said all of the wrong things to others who are in pain and I’ve heard all of the wrong things said to me when I have been in pain.

      I can’t take back my words, spoken in an incredible combination of ignorance and arrogance. I fear what I may have done and asked God to forgive me and undo whatever damage my words caused. Help the ones who likely suffered even more because of my lack of help. I’m responsible for their tears; please wipe them away, Lord.

      Then I ask Him to undo the damage that the combination of ignorance and arrogance did to me. And to correct whatever counseling I got that didn’t line up with His. They are responsible for my tears, please wipe them away, Lord.

      “her words to me were that I just needed to fall in love with Jesus again and keep my eyes on the foot of the cross.”

      It’s interesting how intentions play into this sort of scenario. This really must be the cure-all, right, or else it wouldn’t be touted over and over again. It’s like telling someone who suffers from chronic pain to embrace yoga, clean living and a strict diet—stretch those muscles, detoxify your body, eat naturally and healthfully—-and everything will work out.

      Granted, there are different ways to treat chronic pain that just MIGHT make a difference. But the immediate: you need to change, you need to take charge, you need to take control mantra becomes nothing more than parroted condemnation.

      I used to wonder (I still do) WHY victims are almost immediately blamed or shamed in SOME way, when they open up. As you said, the word “abuse” hadn’t occurred to you yet, but even without that, it’s obvious you were in a great deal of pain and misery. Even so, she rushed to pin it on you and tell you to “do” something about the way your spouse chose to treat you.

      How did it pivot so easily to pin the problem on your supposed lack of “true love” with the Lord Himself? A lack of focus on Him and His sacrificial death? Does making Him your first love (again) somehow cause your spouse to stop choosing to treat you badly? And how did she even perceive that you had fallen OUT of love with Christ, your eyes were NOT on Him, and what evidence did those other persons have that Christ was NOT your first love anymore?

      If you had gone to a medical doctor with your joints or muscles inflamed, you might not know the phrase “chronic pain,” and your doctor may not definitively know if that is the case. But your doctor can easily see that you are suffering badly. No doctor in his or her right mind would jump to the conclusion that you must be leading a very unhealthy lifestyle or else you would never, ever be in this kind of severe pain.

      I personally think there is a rush to judgment in the church because we are too eager and / or too arrogant and simply don’t want to deal with the many knots and twisted lies that abuse is comprised of. Since the victim is usually the one sitting there, telling her story, it’s so convenient to target her. Tell her that if she loves Him more, He will give her more love for the husband who is obviously not being loved enough, or does not feel loved enough by her.

      Tell her to keep her eyes on the foot of His cross and she’ll feel so guilty for acting like she is like our crucified Savior (or acting like a martyr) that her sufferings pale in comparison to His.

      Tell her that she’s fallen away from her first Love and stop looking to her husband to love you as only He can. Your first Love is Jesus; stop acting like your husband’s love is as crucial as His love. If she is not content with His love and His alone, no wonder you’re so unhappy. Her husband’s love is secondary and should not be put on any level comparable to His.

      There are so many things wrong with these “counsels.” But the main one is the immense, impossible burdens put on the wife. Also, the dangerous and deceptive conclusions that show little to no Biblical discernment.

      Spouses and domestic partners are abused regardless of being saved or not. I can’t imagine the horror of telling a non-Christian victim that if Christ had been in her life, she would not have been abused. I also cannot imagine a Christian victim being told that Christ was not in her life ENOUGH, or else she would not have been abused.

      I do not believe that “more love” for Christ is guaranteed to lessen the pain of abuse, usually by someone that you know and trust and love. His love is not a “narcotic” that numbs the pain of being decimated from the inside out by someone you never imagined would do that to you.

      I have found that growing in Him (which, yes, does include growing in His love) does anything BUT desensitize me to personal pain, and the pain of others. In fact, I see the horrors of it only far more clearer. I’d say that His love gives me more confident trust in Him, more hope in the reality of His compassion, but never does it dry up the tears that still flow when I am hurting.

      “Again I cried…and repented…and the abuse continued.”

      When I heard pain like that long ago, I should have just kept my mouth shut and simply sympathized. I wondered if I was expected to have the answers, but that is no excuse, none at all for my foolishness.

      Does simply saying: “I’m praying” sound fake and rather disingenuous? Perhaps.

      But if the person means it, that is never disingenuous! And I AM praying, and thank you for sharing your story!

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (3RD MAY 2020 – 7:21 PM) “Granted, there are different ways to treat chronic pain that just MIGHT make a difference. But the immediate: you need to change, you need to take charge, you need to take control mantra becomes nothing more than parroted condemnation.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “How did it pivot so easily to pin the problem on your supposed lack of “true love” with the Lord Himself? A lack of focus on Him and His sacrificial death? Does making Him your first love (again) somehow cause your spouse to stop choosing to treat you badly? And how did she even perceive that you had fallen OUT of love with Christ, your eyes were NOT on Him, and what evidence did those other persons have that Christ was NOT your first love anymore?”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “Tell her to keep her eyes on the foot of His cross and she’ll feel so guilty for acting like she is like our crucified Savior (or acting like a martyr) that her sufferings pale in comparison to His.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “There are so many things wrong with these “counsels.” But the main one is the immense, impossible burdens put on the wife. Also, the dangerous and deceptive conclusions that show little to no Biblical discernment.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “Spouses and domestic partners are abused regardless of being saved or not. I can’t imagine the horror of telling a non-Christian victim that if Christ had been in her life, she would not have been abused. I also cannot imagine a Christian victim being told that Christ was not in her life ENOUGH, or else she would not have been abused.”

        Amen to ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “I do not believe that “more love” for Christ is guaranteed to lessen the pain of abuse, usually by someone that you know and trust and love. His love is not a “narcotic” that numbs the pain of being decimated from the inside out by someone you never imagined would do that to you.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “I have found that growing in Him (which, yes, does include growing in His love) does anything BUT desensitize me to personal pain, and the pain of others. In fact, I see the horrors of it only far more clearer. I’d say that His love gives me more confident trust in Him, more hope in the reality of His compassion, but never does it dry up the tears that still flow when I am hurting.”

        ^That.

  4. Gany T.

    Trigger Warning!!

    I watched a touching, profound video by an abuse survivor on the origin of the Roman Catholic Church. It has strong words not limited to ‘the foot of the cross,’ but on the whole person of the crucified Christ on the cross, i.e., the broken condition Christ was in after being tortured, bloodied, and murdered by psychopaths and Satan.

    That moment was Satan’s victory over Christ.

    The video noted how the Catholic hierarchy constantly, literally waves a crucifix in people’s faces. (It was noted that the pope, further, has a crucifix with an especially grotesque, caricature figure of Christ.) This is done in order to elicit guilt; a very effective tool used regularly by the hierarchy to control the people.

    This is constantly lifting up Satan’s victory over Christ (albeit, a short-lived moment).

    The video asks what kind of “church” chooses to focus on Satan’s vicious, psychopathic moment of victory over Christ rather than on Christ’s powerful, miraculous, and eternal victory over Satan and sin by rising from the dead, after having defeated him (Satan) and providing salvation to those who accept it?

    Believers are to focus on Christ’s resurrection; His victory over Satan.

    I believe this video would encourage us to completely forget this business of ‘focusing at the foot of the cross.’

    [Here is the link. And he speaks of this specific point at 14:32-16:09 minutes.

    The Catholic Church-A System in Action-Part 2 It’s Inception, Constantine, and Cardinals]

    • Thanks Gany T. And thanks for indicating the section of the video where it talks about how the Catholic hierarchy constantly waves a crucifix in people’s faces in order to elicit guilt feelings and thus control people.

      I want to reaffirm what the video pointed out: The Roman Catholic crucifix is lifting up Satan’s (short lived) victory over Christ.

      Protestant churches often display a cross without Jesus hanging on it. I have heard Protestants explain this by saying that the empty cross points to the resurrection: Christ is no longer on the cross, He is raised from the dead.

      Okay, let’s think about this.

      The cross was an instrument of execution, like the guillotine, or the electric chair. But unlike the guillotine or the electric chair which cause instant death, the cross was an instrument of slow torture leading to death. When nailed to a cross, the person undergoes many many hours of excruciating pain before dying.

      When Protestant churches display a cross, they are displaying a device used for torturous slow death.

      The empty cross may not be quite as guilt-inducing as the crucifix, but the empty cross is still an image that can all too easily induce cognitive dissonance. This is especially true for victims of interpersonal abuse.

      • Karen

        So true, Barbara. Thank-you for pointing that out, “The empty cross many not be quite as guilt-inducing as the crucifix, but the empty cross is still an image that can all too easily induce cognitive dissonance. The is especially rue for victims of interpersonal abuse.”

        Spot on!

      • Helovesme

        Thank you so much Gany T. I did not watch the video; I have been suffering from constant nightmares and I am unfortunately extra sensitive to nearly everything.

        But I loved your comment AND Barb’s reply. This site has blessed me in that I’ve had the same or similar thoughts about certain topics.

        I read a commentary about Romans 8:17-18 that resonates with this conversation:

        “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

        It’s dangerous to focus too much on one or the other: His painful sufferings or His glorious resurrection. Yes, He suffered, but then He rose from the dead. Yes, He rose from the dead, but first He suffered.

        Too often, the emphasis is put on one over the other, which translates to extreme discouragement (life is nothing but suffering, no glory awaits). Or extreme but misplaced optimism (life is nothing but glorious, no suffering allowed).

        The emphasis of shoving a crucifix with His suffering form on it is not only hideous, it is over-emphasizing His crucifixion over His resurrection. There is a morbid fascination with His slow, torturous death that is literally shoved into the faces of those who need help to overcome their pain, not be guilt ridden about it.

        The point of His death was to pay for our sins in full. When He said “it is finished,” that is about as final as it gets. In overly focusing on His sufferings, it’s like we are still trying to complete or compensate for some suffering that apparently He didn’t quite finish, or do a good enough job, or a thorough enough job.

        When He said “it is finished,” you either believe Him or you do not. Pick one or the other; there are only two choices. How you live will reflect which choice you have made.

        The point of His resurrection was to confirm that finished work. If you think He left something undone in His death, the resurrection will not mean as much to you as it should. In fact, you might deny that He rose at all. In your mind, He is still hanging on that cross (or you’ve taken His place?), still dying, still working, still suffering. It is not finished. In fact, it is never finished.

        Only His 100% finished work would result in His rising from the dead. If that is not true to you, in your mind, He is still in the grave.

        Our faith rests on His resurrection. If He did not rise again, our faith is dead and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:14). I read a good insight into this: His death paid for our sins, His resurrection is the confirmation of that. “Paid in full” is what His rising from the grave signifies.

        On the flip side, if you focus too much on His resurrection, you aren’t fully appreciating what He endured in order to give us that “paid in full” receipt in rising again. It must be understood, via the Holy Spirit, that He took the “bullet” we 100% deserved and He 100% did not. Every bit of righteous wrath that we rightly earned, He paid for.

        Christ, in the Garden before He was arrested, struggled with what awaited Him: Full and complete separation from His Father AND bearing the sins and the wages of those sins. It MATTERS that I don’t have to bear His righteous wrath because He did it for me. He is forever done dealing with me on that level. One MUST keep that in mind before attempting to appreciate His victory over His sufferings.

        Abuse doesn’t translate at ALL to “suffering for His sake” and so there will be rewarding glory to be revealed. Yes, He suffered much like abuse victims are, but Christ did not suffer in order to sanction or enable abuse. He died to condemn sin (and abuse is a sin), not to condone it. This site has some wonderful links that go more in depth into this.

        Barb’s comment rang with me because I read an insight that claimed we have “sanitized” His cross to make clean and pure and basically—inoffensive. I want to say the commentary I read brought up the electric chair (imagine wearing that around your neck?). I used to wear a cross around my neck for a long time—-I don’t recall why but I don’t wear it anymore.

        I was never told that the “pretty” cross, devoid of His image, was meant to signify how He was no longer dead. That’s an interesting angle. Barb summed it up nicely, though:

        “The empty cross may not be quite as guilt-inducing as the crucifix, but the empty cross is still an image that can all too easily induce cognitive dissonance.”

        Perhaps we would be accused of being too “literal;” what’s wrong with wearing a piece of jewelry that testifies of your faith in Him? What, are we supposed to put together a few jagged pieces of wood, stain it with red and pound a few nails into it for added effect? The cross is made to look beautiful because it shows the beauty of His love for us! Also, it focuses on the rosy resurrection, not the blood, sweat and tears that He left behind on the cross, when He rose again.

        There is no commandment saying: never wear a cross; that’s a sin. Of course it’s not a sin. I truly hope I didn’t induce any guilt in anyone; that would be participating in what Gany T. specifically warned against.

        Barb’s warning, however, should be taken seriously and taken to heart.

        The commentary I read about that Romans verse, explained that the glory aspect cannot be compared to the sufferings, because it will be so much more glorious than that. Imagine a balancing scale: the sufferings and glory won’t balance out—-the glory will abound and super abound. It is perhaps how Romans 5:20 describes: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

        Grace doesn’t just over and take away our sins “just enough.” It goes above and beyond the bare requirements. This is something that would not be possible had He not died AND rose again.

        Romans 5:21, right after this, is one of my favorites. Sin reigned in death, but grace reigns in His righteousness.

        Grace never enables or condones sin. Grace reigns in His righteousness! Sin has no chance to reign; grace will not give any room or chance for that.

      • Helovesme, I’m sorry you are suffering constant nightmares. That must be awful. I’m not surprised you are “extra sensitive to nearly everything.”

        If I were suffering constant nightmares, I’m sure I would be extra sensitive to nearly everything.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you for those kind words, Barb. I’m an adult, so it’s understandable to minimize the effects of nightmares, but the compassion and comfort are always welcomed. And appreciated.

        These are things that are out of my control. Something that I feel sure will give me cause to have dark dreams might not, and something small and seemingly insignificant will feed them.

        So trying to figure out and navigate things to lessen the likelihood is not as easy at all. And some are more intense, some are not—and when you wake up you’re not always certain how they will or won’t stay with you.

        Thank you again for taking the time and trouble to show me compassion!

  5. Kind of Anonymous

    The variation I’ve heard of that [“keep your focus at the foot of the cross”] would probably be “Get your eyes off your problem and onto Jesus”. I think that ultimately there is no other help but Jesus, so the content of the words is true. We can’t walk in faith or have victory in trouble. Peter began to panic and sink when he began to look at the wind and the waves and took his eyes off Jesus, who was supplying the ability to suspend the laws of physics and do what is humanly impossible. There is much truth in this statement, and indeed we cannot remain upright apart from doing so.

    But when someone brandishes that [“keep your focus at the foot of the cross”] in response to something we are going through, it becomes a kind of righteous licence not to show empathy and walk beside another. It’s dismissive to speak like that I think, if the intent is to ignore suffering and uphold fake happy clappy churchianity. We are supposed to mourn with those who mourn, so there is a place for honestly acknowledging the problem and in taking action as well where appropriate. I can’t imagine Paul telling others in reference to Hymenaeus and Alexander to get their eyes on Jesus and off the problem. He actually responded by doing something about it that was in line with scriptural principles.

    So I think that those who do this are in fact behaving like children with a heavenly sharp double edged sword, brandishing it around with no idea of its purpose, severity, holiness and sharpness. Were they coming from a place of true proper reverence and grasp of holiness and God’s glory, I doubt they would handle truth so casually like that. They know it’s a sword and so they brandish it. Swords are for waving around right? It seems almost as if they forget that THEY have the same master as YOU do. They should neither feed and stroke a problem anymore than they should deny and ignore it, but rather respond in truth, mercy and empathy which may, yes, require some correction. But there has to be some love in it.

    [“keep your focus at the foot of the cross” added in square brackets for clarity. Editors.]

    • Finding Answers

      Kind Of Anonymous,

      You wrote (26TH APRIL 2020 – 7:42 AM): “So I think that those who do this are in fact behaving like children with a heavenly sharp double edged sword cross, brandishing it around with no idea of its purpose, severity, holiness and sharpness. Were they coming from a place of true proper reverence and grasp of holiness and God’s glory, I doubt they would handle truth so casually like that. They know it’s a sword cross and so they brandish it. Swords Crosses are for waving around right? It seems almost as if they forget that THEY have the same master as YOU do. They should neither feed and stroke a problem anymore than they should deny and ignore it, but rather respond in truth, mercy and empathy which may, yes, require some correction. But there has to be some love in it.

      (Strikethrough of the word “sword” and the word “sword” changed to “cross(es)” by me. Bold also added by me.)

      ^That.

      I am profoundly grateful for your comment, Kind of Anonymous. 🙂 🙂 🙂 etc. etc. etc.

      Your comment, when edited in my own quirky fashion, describes MANY pictures in my mind.

      (Bold added by me.)

      ^Those pictures in my mind are associated with Christians / “christians” / believers / “believers” / psychopaths / etc.

    • I’m so glad you brought up ‘weep with those who weep’ / ‘mourn with those who mourn’ (Romans 12:15), Kind of Anonymous.

      when someone brandishes “keep your focus at the foot of the cross” in response to something we are going through, it becomes a kind of righteous licence not to show empathy and walk beside another. It’s dismissive to speak like that I think, if the intent is to ignore suffering … those who do this are in fact behaving like children with a heavenly sharp double edged sword, brandishing it around with no idea of its purpose, severity, holiness and sharpness.

      Well said! Thank you! 🙂

      • Kind of Anonymous

        You’re very welcome, thank you for the encouragement. 🙂

    • Helovesme

      Thank you so much Kind Of Anonymous I got a LOT out of your comment.

      The disciples caught up in the storm when Christ was in the boat with them (asleep) has spoken volumes to me (Luke 8:22) It is a different story from Peter walking on water (Matthew 14).

      Most of us can relate to our trials as if they are “storms.” And as there are a variety of ways to react to actual storms, there are a variety of ways to react to our trials. No matter what, as you pointed out: we have the same Master who can and does carry us through them.

      Some of the disciples were experienced fishermen. So that they were so afraid (it was a sudden storm, in a body of water known for sudden storms) speaks volumes. And yet they were terrified, nearly convinced they were going to die.

      No matter what, whether you are experienced in storms OR in life—you are never 100% beyond experiencing fear. Christians with strong, mature faith will likely still struggle with doubts. Does anyone condemn the disciples for admitting their fear and calling out for help?

      I remember praying once about feeling the “wet and wild” winds and waves of a “life-storm.” I was comforted in Christ assuring me that it was perfectly all right to admit that those winds and waves were doing a number on me. Battered, bruised and even broken from feeling tossed around by something that was out of my control. Tired, cold and lonely. It does not necessarily indicate a lack of faith in Him to admit that you are hurting, while at the same time holding onto Him for dear life.

      Will He rebuke the wind and the waves, or is He sleeping, seemingly unaware (or uncaring) as I attempt to make it the other side?

      Why was He asleep? A commentary I read gave an amazing insight: He was tired. He was (and is human). He rested whenever He got a chance to. Ministry is exhausting.

      But then He awoke and displayed His divine nature by rebuking the wind and the waves, which no mere human being can do. In a short span of time, He displayed both His divine and human natures.

      After, He asked them “Where is your faith?” He was speaking to rain soaked, shivering disciples who had JUST dodged near imminent death. Did His tone indicate condescension, or compassion? Likely compassionate correction. 🙂 I know you were fearful and I understand that, but you forgot Who is with you the whole time.

      When Christ was suffering and dying on the cross, I highly doubt He maintained a calm, zen-like demeanor as He literally and slowly suffocated in front of a less-than-empathetic crowd. He also said with one word, His Father would deliver Him. I know for me, I would do almost anything to avoid pain, internal or external. But He stayed and willingly suffered until He was ready to give up His Spirit. No one “took” His life from Him in the sense we think of it. He laid it down and when He had sealed our salvation, He let go of His life.

      This. Is. Love. This is not a love any of us have fully achieved, but we can and should fully appreciate. As K of A put it, show some love. Lead people to His cross, but the POINT of leading them there is to lay down their burdens, their sins, their very lives—trusting in Him who understands suffering (as signified by being led to where He suffered).

      The cross is not just where we find forgiveness for our sins, it is also a reminder of justice for those who have been sinned against. The cross was supposed to be a symbol of earthly justice, reserved only for the worst of the worst criminals. But as we know only all too well, earthly justice is NOT the same as Biblical justice.

      I believe His resurrection was not just to confirm our salvation, it was to confirm His 100% innocence. His trial and sentence to die as He did was 100% unjust; He was perfect and sinless and had nothing to confess to. Ironically, they killed Him with no real indication of what exactly He was guilty of (they accused Him of many things but none of them stuck, none of them could be proven).

      Leading abuse victims to the cross in regards to their victimhood should be intended to comfort them, not just conviction of sin. They can trust in the One who 100% satisfied His just, righteous wrath, and will 100% satisfy justice due to man’s unjust, unrighteous wrath.

      One must be able to use Biblical discernment in HOW we approach His cross AND lead others to approach Him. Victims are 100% innocent when they are sinned against. They have nothing to confess in that regard.

      It does NOT mean they are sinless, because there is no such thing as a sinless victim. But don’t lead a victim to the cross and start badgering them to confess their sins. That time will come (He will make sure of that; conviction of personal sin is serious to Him). But don’t use the cross to unjustly burden a victim any more than they already are; they need to lay DOWN the unbearable weight of being victimized.

      When Christ rose again, John 20:27 says a disciple put his hand where He had been pierced and could see where His hands had been wounded. Revelation 5:6 says he saw a Lamb “looking as if it had been slain.”

      It is not inconceivable that victims carry around some scars from being sinned against. Obviously, the weight and wounds of bearing and dying for our sins left some marks on Him. He fully rose again, never to die again—but I do wonder if He retained those marks not just to signify the impact of taking on our sins, but also to testify of His taking on our sins.

      My understanding is that even after He rose again, He remained fully human, resurrected into a body that will never die again. If He is not ashamed of His humanity, including visible signs of His time on Earth, then perhaps we can encourage victims to embrace Him even more. His scars mean something to us, and our scars mean something to Him.

      K of A’s simple admonishment stands: Show some love. Put some love into it.

  6. Kind of Anonymous

    Thank you to the editors for amending my comment so it was clearer. 🙂 And thank you Finding Answers, I think your changing it to the cross is appropriate, as the cross is an instrument of death, so misusing it in any way that is cavalier and unkind twists and perverts the very means of salvation and can drive people away from that which they need to come near to.

    • Finding Answers

      Kind Of Anonymous commented (26TH APRIL 2020 – 1:53 PM), “…..the cross is an instrument of death, so misusing it in any way that is cavalier and unkind twists and perverts the very means of salvation and can drive people away from that which they need to come near to.”

      (Bold added by me.)

      ^That sentence (highlighted in bold) might also be termed “weaponizing the cross”.

  7. Kind of Anonymous

    A further thought about keeping one’s focus at the foot of the cross. I think that what this means to me or is meant to convey originally, is that it’s a reminder of how we are utterly dependent on Jesus. Things like “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in Me for apart from Me you can do nothing”, and the line from a hymn that goes “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee”. But he was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, etc., all speak to this.

    To be at the foot of the cross is to be looking up at the bleeding Saviour sacrificing all for us. It speaks to us of how captive we are to sin and utterly wretched and unable to free ourselves and how great His love, and how awful and decisive a death blow He has struck upon sin and death, how great a resounding defeat the devil receives through the cross. All power to defeat sin and be free and be healed, flows outward from the cross. It is horrible and wonderful and beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

    I think that when Christians of old would say such things to one another, it was like reminding each other that if one stayed close and kept uppermost in one’s mind these things, one was kept safe from the ravages of self, flesh, pride, devil and world. They had a common understanding of dealing with the flesh and pride and self will that is almost missing in western Christianity today. They understood ideas like “the dark night of the soul”. They knew little of the happy clappy churchianity we know of today. There is much to be gained by bringing one’s focus and meditation back to the cross.

    But I doubt anyone who gazed upon the cross for long and grasped its meaning and what Jesus did for them, would come away from that without being touched by God’s mercy for lost and suffering sinners. So perhaps when people use such words now to dismiss the suffering and distress of another, it is because they themselves have not really grappled with the cross to the degree they think they have. When one has truly done this there is humility and patience even in approaching someone who is wallowing in sin. We see some of this in Paul’s instructions to Timothy to reason patiently with those that oppose.

    I well remember a Christian friend snapping at me in the snottiest way when I was pouring out the bitterness of my life experiences to her. Now I had huge amounts of legitimate trauma, but also of self pity, bitterness and unforgiveness as well. I was caught between two points: My wounds are legitimate and no one will admit it, and feeling that my wounds were trivial and didn’t matter and that if I were a good Christian I wouldn’t even think of them, so it was selfish of me to do so. I hadn’t really any grasp of the cross or my own need at this point. So Jesus didn’t really enter this picture though I thought myself saved. Perhaps I was but just very immature, I don’t know.

    So there was sin in the outpouring of course. But what she said was “Oh for goodness’ sake KOA, take it to the cross and leave it there or Jesus died for nothing.” That’s quite a heavy trip to lay on someone and shows nothing of mercy, love, compassion and self-abnegation on her part. She took the very thing that should have been comfort and salvation and used it to suggest that Jesus did not care about my wounds and pain, when it meant the opposite. I think she believed she was encouraging self-abnegation via harsh rebuke but because there was no “I can relate to you, I’ve been there, lets pray together over these things and take them to the one whose love for you is greater than all the power of hell to destroy you”. It was harmful not helpful.

    It is not reminiscent of the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Comforter who comes alongside, or of Jesus our high priest who intercedes for us and knows our weakness. When we’ve seen our own sin, and been freed from it we have compassion on others because we know that without the Saviour’s intervention, we are lost and doomed. No one just “snaps out of sin” through their own virtue or willpower. Sin will just come up another way.

    So this truth in the mouth of someone who is walking the path of the cross can be life giving, but handled by your typical western professing believer who has not really been to the foot of the cross to any great degree it can be turned into a weapon for sure (wink to Finding Answers for her reference to weaponizing).

    • Finding Answers

      Kind Of Anonymous,

      You wrote (27TH APRIL 2020 – 8:45 AM): “A further thought about keeping one’s focus at the foot of the cross…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: ” ….it’s a reminder of how we are utterly dependent on Jesus…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: “…..Things like “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in Me for apart from Me you can do nothing”, and the line from a hymn that goes “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee”…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: “….But he was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, etc.,….”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: “To be at the foot of the cross is to be looking up at the bleeding Saviour sacrificing all for us. It speaks to us of how captive we are to sin and utterly wretched and unable to free ourselves and how great His love, and how awful and decisive a death blow He has struck upon sin and death, how great a resounding defeat the devil receives through the cross. All power to defeat sin and be free and be healed, flows outward from the cross. It is horrible and wonderful and beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

      (Bold added by me.)

      ^That.

      In the comment, you wrote: “I think that when Christians of old would say such things to one another, it was like reminding each other that if one stayed close and kept uppermost in one’s mind these things, one was kept safe from the ravages of self, flesh, pride, devil and world. They had a common understanding of dealing with the flesh and pride and self will that is almost missing in western Christianity today. They understood ideas like “the dark night of the soul”. They knew little of the happy clappy churchianity we know of today. There is much to be gained by bringing one’s focus and meditation back to the cross.”

      (Strikethrough added by me.)

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: “But I doubt anyone who gazed upon the cross for long and grasped its meaning and what Jesus did for them, would come away from that without being touched by God’s mercy for lost and suffering sinners…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, you wrote: “….without the Saviour’s intervention, we are lost and doomed. No one just “snaps out of sin” through their own virtue or willpower. Sin will just come up another way.”

      ^That.

      Nor, unlike what many individuals / “counsellors” / etc. profess, does one just “snap out of depression / grief / etc.” .

      In the same comment, you wrote: “So this truth in the mouth of someone who is walking the path of the cross can be life giving, but handled by your typical western professing believer who has not really been to the foot of the cross to any great degree it can be turned into a weapon for sure….”

      (Strikethrough added by me.)

      ^That.

    • ‘…what she said was “Oh for goodness’ sake KOA, take it to the cross and leave it there or Jesus died for nothing.” ‘

      It’s almost like she was saying, “Oh for goodness’ sake, Christ suffered so you wouldn’t have to.”

      In this post I wrote in 2015, under the heading Their discussion of suffering I unwrap what is wrong with the phrase “Christ suffered so you wouldn’t have to.”

      • Kind of Anonymous

        Hi Barb, I’m probably giving you way more than you asked for by way of thinking about this aloud, so I apologize in advance. 🙂

        She may have meant something like that. I am not sure. Her tone was rebuking and almost contemptuous. She seemed to see me as someone she needed to keep on top of, and at times, if anything that seemed to be to do with sexual abuse or sex generally came up, she was kind of controlling and suppressing. I think from that and other things she said to me, that to her it was sin for me to talk about my pain and bitterness over things done to me.

        She had suffered a rape herself when she was young and she insisted she forgave her rapist. I think the prevailing thought then and sometimes now, was that this was the only issue and if you have forgiven your rapist, then there should be no further need to bring it up and if you did you were walking in self pity. It seemed obvious to me that she had stuffed some of it down in the belief that this is what you did when you were walking in faith and righteousness.

        So if she hadn’t permission to unpack her pain and sort through it, she wouldn’t have been able to give me that permission without feeling she was giving me permission to walk in self pity and self focus. Self focus is anathema in Christianity, so when a victim of evil is wrapped up in their pain and questioning themselves, focused on self, protecting self, etc., it seems to trigger rebukes and shaming for the sin of selfishness, self pity, etc.

        What these folks don’t seem to realize is that if they dropped a heavy object on their foot and broke it, at that moment and for some time afterwards, their focus would be entirely on their own pain and I seriously doubt any of them would be at that moment singing praises to God or rushing out to visit a widow or feed an orphan! Similarly if they got hit by a car in a crosswalk. Even if they forgave the driver, that would not remove the need for going to the hospital and having to attend to some time in a cast, stitches, therapy to learn to walk, something to lessen the pain, comfort for the shock and trauma, all acts of self care that are necessary to fix the damage. Forgiveness doesn’t always remove damage and certainly is not immediate. I think one of the reasons people remain stuck in self pity, aside from the sin that we struggle with, is because they struggle with feeling that what happened to them is trivial and superfluous, though if it happened to someone else it would be different and valid.

        In the end, I still think that the only way to end it IS taking it to the cross and that yes, if we ignore what Jesus did for us then we have walked away from the only solution there is. But though we may indeed correctly identify that someone’s pain has made them self focused and self pitying, that doesn’t negate that what happened matters to Jesus and that He saves all our tears in His bottle. Indeed, it may be the belief that it matters to no one that we were harmed that keeps some of us stuck there.

      • Hi Kind of Anonymous, you didn’t give me too much in your comment! I thought all your comment was really good. 🙂

        I especially liked your second and third paragraphs.

        I think I have suffered rebuke and admonishment from many victims of sexual abuse who have
        — stuffed their feelings
        — think they have forgiven their abuser so it’s all done and dusted…no further need to bring it up

        In my experience with these kinds of people, when their friends or acquaintances or family members talk about how they themselves were sexually abused, the people who have stuffed their feelings are likely to give them a tongue lashing. To shame them, i.e. falsely accuse them, of ‘wallowing in self pity and selfishness’.

        I agree with you KoA that usually these kinds of people haven’t been given permission to unpack their own pain and sort through it, so they don’t feel they can give permission to anyone else to do that.

      • Finding Answers

        Kind Of Anonymous,

        You wrote (28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:30 AM): “What these folks don’t seem to realize is that if they dropped a heavy object on their foot and broke it, at that moment and for some time afterwards, their focus would be entirely on their own pain and I seriously doubt any of them would be at that moment singing praises to God or rushing out to visit a widow or feed an orphan! Similarly if they got hit by a car in a crosswalk. Even if they forgave the driver, that would not remove the need for going to the hospital and having to attend to some time in a cast, stitches, therapy to learn to walk, something to lessen the pain, comfort for the shock and trauma, all acts of self care that are necessary to fix the damage. Forgiveness doesn’t always remove damage and certainly is not immediate.…..”

        ^That.

        You wrote: “In the end, I still think that the only way to end it IS taking it to the cross and that yes, if we ignore what Jesus did for us then we have walked away from the only solution there is……”

        (Bold added by me.)

        ^That.

        You wrote: “……what happened matters to Jesus and that He saves all our tears in His bottle…..”

        (Bold added by me.)

        ^That.

        You wrote: “….I’m probably giving you way more than you asked for by way of thinking about this aloud,…..”

        For me, NOT ^That. 🙂

        Perhaps Jesus finds your words as precious to Him as your words are to me.

    • Helovesme

      Replying to: Kind Of Anonymous
      27TH APRIL 2020 – 8:45 AM

      Just a few paragraphs in and I was totally touched by your words:

      “It is horrible and wonderful and beautiful and terrifying at the same time.”

      I’ve had a similar phrase (I liked yours much better!): The cross was blood, sweat and tears—and eventual victory.

      It was a way to NOT “romanticize” the cross (aka “sanitize” it). They were not smooth, sanded pieces of wood, little dainty little nails, and the crown of thorns on His head was NOT simply an “uncomfortable” hat.

      “They knew little of the happy clappy churchianity we know of today….So perhaps when people use such words now to dismiss the suffering and distress of another, it is because they themselves have not really grappled with the cross to the degree they think they have”

      One thing I’ve experienced in my life via well meaning, professing Christians—-is the idea that they know how I feel or what I think (or how I SHOULD feel and think)—when it comes to things where I need His open arms, stretched out that not only died for Me, but embrace me as well. Open hands, open arms, means He is approachable. Available.

      Those arms are also there to protect me, stretched out to “cover” for me when the bullets are flying. In the 80’s, America’s president was shot at. His secret service man spread his arms “eagle like” over the president. While everyone else instinctively hit the road and ran, hit the floor to protect themselves, this man’s training told him to do the exact opposite.

      Me: I’m in pain. I am sad and lost and lonely.
      Them: You just need this and that to be fixed.

      Me: I don’t want this or that for my life.
      Them: Of course you do!

      You see the increasing agony, right?

      “Now I had huge amounts of legitimate trauma, but also of self pity, bitterness and unforgiveness as well…. I hadn’t really any grasp of the cross or my own need at this point. So Jesus didn’t really enter this picture though I thought myself saved. ”

      Oh my goodness, I was in a position almost exactly like that. I had been through an enormous trauma and I didn’t know who I trust to talk about it. My hunch was that they’d look at me and say something like—how can you be struggling, I thought you had such strong faith!

      I turned to a woman who had actually shared most of that trauma with me! When I told her, I don’t think she said much but she ended up avoiding me after that. A few years later I think, she wrote to me and said she’d been upset at the bitterness in my voice and how I’d spoken of our mutual church leader at the time, who I felt had handled the situation terribly. She took that personally (he was her mentor) but acknowledged that I had the right to my feelings.

      The thing is, I was just about to attempt counseling to attack these issues. I knew I was bitter. I too didn’t “insert” His cross in my situation because I was so heavy laden, nearly buckling under the strain. I honestly wondered if I deserved to simply crumble away.

      At the time, I felt shell shocked, too. I really couldn’t believe the cruelty I had endured. Since Christ alone is 100% sinless, I didn’t feel like I had the right to identify with the cruelty He had endured. And what if He “agreed” with those that had been so cruel to me? What if He literally looked down on me and told me that I had indeed failed Him? I was too afraid to ask for conviction of sin where He saw fit.

      This was almost 18 years ago and at this writing I teared up, recalling it all. And your words said it best: “She took the very thing that should have been comfort and salvation and used it to suggest that Jesus did not care about my wounds and pain, when it meant the opposite.”

      I had barely been a Christian for 6 years when this occurred. I now understand how unrealistic it was for me, or for ANYONE to even insinuate that my faith in Him was rock solid, iron clad and most of all—whole and complete. No, there were a lot of holes, a lot of work to to be done, a lot of work to be UNDONE.

      Never be afraid to ask Him for conviction of sin where HE sees fit. He will honor those that seek Him. Ask Him to prepare your heart to receive and believe whatever He tells you. Ask Him to drive out fear with His perfect love. That cross should be enough, MORE than enough to convince us that He has no desire to harm us any more than we already are.

      By the way, I once read a great insight into the evils of legalism: picture watching Christ suffer for us on the cross and you say: that’s great and all, but that’s not enough. I need to do this or be that in order to be saved (or “extra” saved?). I need more insurance and assurance that I’m really saved, because your cross just doesn’t convince me enough.

      You mentioned “terrifying” regarding the cross. I loved that. I know you did not mean “man-made” or “man-based” fear. I know you meant the beautiful but terrifying fear of God. Look at Him hanging there, driving out the work of the devil, the (kind of) fear we are held in bondage to, taking on and taking away our sins, not to mention the numerous wounds that our own sins cause us AND what the sins of others cause us.

      It is truly terrifying that He bore the terrifying but righteous wrath of the Lord. No one could literally see that with their own eyes as He died, but by faith we believe that.

      Perfect love and fear cannot co-exist. It is like trying to serve two masters. If you live in that perfect love, best represented by His death and resurrection, fear will naturally be driven out.

      His perfect love will NOT convict us of sin via hopeless, harmful terror and trembling. I have been and will continue to be convicted of a lot of sin in my life. Never has He convicted me in any way but love and kindness. Even if He expressed anger, it was never terrifying to me, but dang if I know it was still serious business.

      “No one just “snaps out of sin” through their own virtue or willpower. Sin will just come up another way.”

      For anyone who doesn’t believe her, I’m hear to back her up big time. Ironically, His death / sacrifice and seeking me out as a sinner led me to feel I had to “live up” to the incredible lengths He went to—to prove that He hadn’t wasted His time and energy. If He loved me first, I better dang well prove that I loved Him in return—-aka “snap out” of my sins.

      It’s not the same exact thing as paying Him back, it was more like paying it forward!

      But I was wrong. Yes I owe Him everything because He gave up everything. But His death wasn’t immediate—boom, and it’s over. The life literally drained out of Him over a period of hours. When it comes to confronting my sins, empowering me to fight the good fight, AND not only be forgiven but forgive others,

      Who is anyone BUT Him to tell me how fast or slow He should or should not work? This is between the two of us. I can certainly appreciate encouragement (go to Him) and admonishment (keep going to Him)—-but no one but Him can do what only He can do.

      I believe and I STILL believe that I am usually my own worst enemy, but it’s not limited to just me. There are forces at work around me and they approach me in all sorts of ways, through all sorts of people. Bottom line: if He is for me, who can be against me?

      Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

      This wasn’t a question, right? It was to challenge our thinking. Don’t forget what He did for us, NOT to guilt you, but to encourage you to let Him grace you!

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (11TH MAY 2020 – 11:31 AM) “It was a way to NOT “romanticize” the cross (aka “sanitize” it). They were not smooth, sanded pieces of wood, little dainty little nails, and the crown of thorns on His head was NOT simply an “uncomfortable” hat.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “…..The cross was blood, sweat and tears—and eventual victory.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “One thing I’ve experienced in my life via well meaning, professing Christians—-is the idea that they know how I feel or what I think (or how I SHOULD feel and think)—when it comes to things where I need His open arms, stretched out that not only died for Me, but embrace me as well. Open hands, open arms, means He is approachable. Available.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “Those arms are also there to protect me, stretched out to “cover” for me when the bullets are flying…..”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented: “…..Bottom line: if He is for me, who can be against me?”

        ^That, aka: The Battle Belongs To God

  8. Kind of Anonymous

    Lol, Finding Answers, perhaps I should just let you edit my posts. 🙂 You do a good job of refining down to the salient stuff.

    Some folks I knew and stayed with as a young Christian had this picture of a valley; hanging off one side of the valley was a sheep in distress that had fallen. Vultures and hawks were circling around. And hanging off the side of the cliff to reach down a long ways was a picture of Jesus the Shepherd reaching for this desperate, doomed sheep that had almost slipped to its death and would do so without a rescuer. I used to sneak upstairs and look wonderingly at that picture. It spoke to me somehow deeply. I still think of it. There are copies of it on the internet. Here is the link to the image, don’t know if have grabbed the link right. The desperate pleading look on the sheep speaks volumes to me as does the trouble the Shepherd is going to to save it.

    • Reaching Out

      Kind Of Anonymous,

      With great regret, I removed the link you included in your comment, as a) the link included a great many pictures, and b) brief research indicates the possibility of copyright infringement, and I could not find a free / stock copy.

      On the other hand, if (general) you do a Google search on “The Lost Sheep” plus some variation on “Alford Usher Soord”, (general) you will find the picture to which Kind of Anonymous refers.

      In doing (general) your search, you will find “Alford” is often (mis)spelled “Alfred”.

      I DID enjoy the search for a copy of the picture, Kind of Anonymous. 🙂

    • Finding Answers

      Kind Of Anonymous,

      You wrote (27TH APRIL 2020 – 11:38 AM): “….perhaps I should just let you edit my posts. 🙂 You do a good job of refining down to the salient stuff.”

      I would not have the picture(s) in my mind to create my own comment if you didn’t include ALL of the words in your comment.

      In reading through your comments, the picture(s) in my mind are created as I read because I can empathize with your (or another’s) circumstances.

      I truly hope that, in my highlighting parts of your comment that stood out for me, I have not unintentionally caused you any hurt / pain / feeling (in the emotional sense) of being discounted / etc.. ALL the words you include in your comments are precious to me, as what you communicate is important.

      You wrote: “…..The desperate pleading look on the sheep speaks volumes to me as does the trouble the Shepherd is going to to save it.”

      ^That.

      Your description of the picture, Kind of Anonymous, was (for me) FAR more accurate and touching than the actual picture. 🙂

      • Kind of Anonymous

        Thank you Finding Answers. I am pleased that my words are helpful. I have often been guilty of using the gift of words in a wrong way so it is good to know that I can do good with them. And no, I don’t mind you taking something I have said and tweaking it to make it more to the point for you at all.

        Reaching Out, thank you for including info on how to actually find the picture. I didn’t even think of copyright (!) and wasn’t sure if the link went to one image or the whole bunch. I understand. 🙂

  9. Gany T.

    Kind of Anonymous’ ( 27TH APRIL 2020 – 8:45 AM ) point about the cross, i.e., Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for redemption of people, being “horrible and wonderful and beautiful and terrifying at the same time” is profound.

    Lately, I’ve pondered a lot about (what my little mind can grasp of) the big picture of human history, current and future events, and the roles and goals of Almighty God, the Enemy, and humans (saved and unsaved).

    Sometimes I, like the psalmist, ask “What is man (humanity) that Thou are mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou shouldest visit him?” Lately, my private response to that is ‘We (collectively, and me personally) ain’t worth much! Definitely not all that fuss.’ And when I get really down or overwhelmed, I question the point of God’s plan being so intricate and I don’t understand it (duh, He’s God; I’m not).

    But what came to me is included in KOA’s point: The Almighty God / Loving Father / Creator / Redeemer cares enough about humanity and about me that He lived and died (a horrible death) to work salvation’s plan. And that means that He greatly values us. (And so I should, too.) And along with that event of redemption, His entire plan is good and needs to come to pass. (Come, Lord Jesus!)

  10. Finding Answers

    Kind Of Anonymous commented (28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:30 AM) “… she He hadn’t permission to unpack her His pain and sort through it, she He wouldn’t have been able……”

    (Strikethrough added and gender changed in the comment by me, to reflect Jesus Christ.)

    ^That.

    In the same comment, Kind Of Anonymous commented “In the end,….”

    ^That.

    Jesus Christ was all alone.

    Sometimes I feel (in the emotional sense) the same feeling of abandonment I imagine Jesus felt on the cross when His (Jesus’) Father (no matter how temporarily) turned His (Father God’s) back on Him (Jesus).

    In the same comment, Kind Of Anonymous commented “….that doesn’t negate that what happened matters to Jesus and that He saves all our tears in His bottle…..”

    I wish I could believe ^That.

    Ironically, The Battle Belongs To God.

  11. James

    The Cross was a symbol of the Roman Empire. At first, it was an unofficial symbol. It was ubiquitous throughout the empire as an instrument of torture and terror. The Romans crucified rebels and resistors to impose and maintain their rule and often placed the crosses along the main thoroughfares.

    Imagine one morning driving to work along the highway beside a line of naked and semi-naked men hanging from crosses slowly dying. It would make quite an impression on your day, wouldn’t it? What’s the message?

    Remember that the Jews were not allowed to crucify Jesus. The Romans reserved that practice for themselves. It was their sign and their message.

    In 312AD, Constantine, who would later conjoin Christianity and the Roman Empire in the formation of the Catholic Church, had his troops paint ‘the sign of the cross’ on their shields the morning of the Battle of Milvian Bridge. The Cross was now an official sign of the Roman Empire.

    Constantine claimed that he had received a vision from Christ saying to paint the sign on the soldiers shields and to “Go forth and conquer”. Though this story has been embraced down through the centuries by Christian Churches (and their leaders), there are a couple of very obvious problems with it.

    First of all, we are being asked to believe that Jesus Christ, after ascending to heaven, had a 180 degree turn-around in his thinking regarding military campaigns and warring in general. I suggest that change of mind is highly unlikely.

    Blessed are the Meek
    Blessed are the peacemakers
    Blessed are the conquerors
    Blessed are the warmongers

    What’s wrong with this picture? Yes, war is the ultimate evil. From it, all other evils spew forth.

    Secondly, we are being asked to believe a psychopath — and Constantine was most definitely a psychopath. You cannot murder your father-in-law, your wife and your son and not be one. These murders took place after he formed the Catholic Church.

    What else do we know about psychopaths? They tell lies . . . . all the time. But they don’t just tell little lies like most people do, they tell whopping outrageous lies; lies that ordinary people wouldn’t dare tell. Claiming that Christ commanded you to invade and conquer Rome using a symbol of terror is one such outrageous lie. How could Jesus endorse such a symbol of violence and such an evil act of power and domination?

    Constantine, at the formation of the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicea in 325AD, appointed himself as its head with the title of Pontifex Maximus, the supreme religious figure in the Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Catholic Church adopted the title for their leader, the pope. They also adopted the cross and added the crucified figure of Christ and have used it for the same subliminal reason that the Romans used it.

    The Cross was, and is, a symbol of power and domination.

    • Thank you James for this comment. Much food for thought!

  12. Kind of Anonymous

    In thinking about James’ comment on how the cross was a symbol of power and domination, it makes me think how it’s true then, even more so, that Jesus triumphed over evil by choosing death on a roman cross. It was a deliberate knowing choice to use that instrument. That [instrument] symbolized all that was arrogant, heedless, cruel, rough, contemptuous and merciless, wicked and sadistic; and [Jesus] used it as the very instrument to defeat those things.

    (Words in square brackets added by Eds for clarity.)

  13. I want to acknowledge all the comments made by readers. I take my hat off to you all. Your comments are superb – thoughtful, deep, insightful, turning around this topic of ‘the cross’ and examining it every which way, from many different perspectives.

    I have benefited from all your comments, and I thank you for taking the trouble to write them. Bless you all!

    • Finding Answers

      Barb commented (5TH MAY 2020 – 7:31 PM) “….turning around this topic of ‘the cross’ and examining it every which way, from many different perspectives.”

      (Strikethrough added by me.)

      For me, ^That is literally what I do with ALL the pictures in my mind, hence my difficulty in finding the applicable words to express myself.

      There are many 3D computer simulation programs / non-violent 3D computer games / etc. that work similarly (and often without words for the pictures), but with less complexity and / or less intricacy.

      Sometimes I wonder what it is like inside the mind of (the Triune) God?

  14. Finding Answers

    A thought, generated by the reading of a variety (re)sources.

    Perhaps some of the individuals / churches / etc. who have encountered negative experiences with the cross have met up with those who promote the likes of John Piper?

    If EVERY sin, no matter the magnitude of the sin, is met with (paraphrasing) “Keep your eyes on Christ on the cross?”: Where is hope? Where is the New Testament? Where, in actuality, with those like John Piper, is Jesus?

    I may not be expressing my comment clearly.

    If I unintentionally hurt / cause anyone pain / etc., please forgive me.

    • I’m intending to write a post soon about John Piper and the notion of unconditional forgiveness. My post will use some of Leonard Chan’s comments.

      For those who didn’t happen to notice Leonard’s comments when they were first published, click here. The link goes to his first comment; scroll down from there to see his other comments.

      • Finding Answers

        Barb commented (6TH MAY 2020 – 5:22 PM) “For those who didn’t happen to notice Leonard’s comments when they were first published,…..”

        I read Leonard’s comments when his comments were first published.

        In the same comment, Barb commented “I’m intending to write a post soon about John Piper and the notion of unconditional forgiveness. My post will use some of Leonard Chan’s comments.”

        ^That.

        From all the reading (etc.) I’ve done, I think those like John Piper have twisted Scripture WAY past the screaming point. (Unhappy pun unintended.)

  15. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented (9TH MAY 2020 – 12:49 PM) about nightmares:

    “These are things that are out of my control……”

    ^That.

    “…..I’m an adult, so it’s understandable to minimize the effects of nightmares,….”

    Age is not always a factor in nightmares.

    “……Something that I feel sure will give me cause to have dark dreams might not, and something small and seemingly insignificant will feed them.”

    ^That.

    “…..So trying to figure out and navigate things to lessen the likelihood is not as easy at all…..”

    ^That.

    “…..And some are more intense, some are not—and when you wake up you’re not always certain how they will or won’t stay with you.”

    ^That.

  16. Helovesme

    Reply to Kind Of Anonymous
    28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:30 AM:

    I recently read your comment and got a lot out of it, but wasn’t able to lay it out until now!

    I’ve noticed that this site (and rightly so) tries to correct a lot of bad or unhealthy doctrine when it comes to repentance, specifically—an abuser who claims to have repented.

    This site has done great work in doing the same regarding forgiveness, by the way. There is SO much misinformation out there; it’s no wonder victims, already feeling condemned by the abuser, now feel condemned by the Lord Himself for a supposed lack of forgiveness.

    From K of A’s comment, her friend displayed a common theme: the less you talk about the abuse or assault, the more assured you can be that you have forgiven them. Hence, the more you talk about it, the more “nonspiritual” and even disobedient you are being.

    In one sense, I can understand. I have felt and still feel consumed by traumatic events or seasons in my life. The more I talk about it, the more I am seemingly “obsessed” or the more “power” I am giving these people over me.

    And the blame falls on me: don’t think about it, and you won’t obsess. Don’t talk about it, and you’ll stop giving them so much power over you.

    As a result (though this part isn’t often spelled out)—–forgiveness will be allowed to grow and blossom.

    A bit more specifically—as K of A put it (gauging from her friend’s stance and demeanor) stop obsessing about YOURSELF and your feelings, stop talking about YOURSELF and how they hurt you in such powerful ways.

    This is interesting, the idea that if you don’t think or talk about something—it’s like it never happened. Even if there IS acknowledgement that the abuse happened, the less it’s acknowledged, the more likely it will be to fade from memory and most importantly, fade from existence (at least in our minds).

    We celebrate the beauty of God forgiving us—(Psalm 103:1): “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

    Hebrews 8:12: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”

    We are fully reconciled to Him, having no more need to perform sacrifices and rituals, no need for a human mediator, and His laws are written on our hearts, not on stone.

    That being said (and these are random, personal thoughts), I’d be careful of falling into a “rut” of performing (or driven to perform) religious-sounding “rituals” that we (or others) deem necessary in order to demonstrate (or prove) that we are not only forgiven ourselves, but have forgiven others as well.

    There are fruits of being forgiven AND forgiving others, but again—I’d be careful. Talking about abuse should NOT automatically lead to the assumption that you have not forgiven your abuser.

    While I am 100% on board with confiding and encouraging one another as fellow believers, I’d be careful that we don’t look to a human being to confirm or deny our level of, or status of healing from and forgiving those that hurt us.

    Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is “Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    We know that Christ Himself is the full personification of the Word. I’ve heard Christians speak of undergoing “spiritual surgery,” and most of the time it’s understood that He Himself is doing this work in them. They would not trust anyone else to do such delicate, precise work. His accuracy is perfect. He never slips with the knife, never cuts off anything vital, and He never rushes His work.

    Surgery on human beings sometimes takes hours. The first mandate for a doctor is to do no harm. That indicates that it is well worth the time it takes, in order to never harm the ones who need your help.

    Can you imagine how long it might take to work on the human soul? Our souls will live forever, unlike our current bodies. Who is anyone to tell Him how to work, and to stop taking so long, and to stop being so nit picky—do we talk to human surgeons like that?

    K of A used a driving analogy that I liked, and I often use a car accident analogy to describe my own experiences.

    It’s already bad enough to get in an accident; even a slight fender bender can cause real damage (whiplash). It’s a reminder of how fragile we really are.

    ONE car hitting you is one thing. Think of two, three, four or five?

    Now imagine that you KNOW the drivers of those cars. They are people you love and trusted. And they came at you from behind or from the side or maybe straight at you. And it was no accident, or they were so distracted that they didn’t watch where they were going. Fixated on their own agenda, you simply got in the way.

    Your body has to recover from the injuries, so you have a physical therapist. Your soul has to recover from the betrayal, so you have a counseling therapist. You are in a lot of pain. One therapist will talk you through learning how to walk again. One therapist will talk you through learning how to love and trust again. But undoubtedly, you will be seriously scarred.

    Humanity doesn’t seem to shame people for having physical scars. It is hard, because they are reminders of what you went through. You can never fully forget, but at least there is likely a measure of compassion from humanity.

    Humanity (esp the church) DOES seem to shame people for having internal ones. It is hard, because they are reminders of what you went through. You can never fully forget, and even worse—there is likely to be a measure of condemnation from humanity.

    For the latter, perhaps the Lord left something behind on purpose, NOT to indicate a lack of healing, but a reminder that wounded humanity is in need of compassion. His resurrected body bore “reminders” of His crucifixion. We are never to think of Him solely as crucified, and not risen. but both crucified AND risen.

    I would never accuse Christ of being self-focused and self-pitying by bearing those scars! But no doubt, the pain of what He experienced was personal, and it remained on Him as a Person.

    K of A mentioned our “tears in a bottle.” Here’s her full quote: “that doesn’t negate that what happened matters to Jesus and that He saves all our tears in His bottle.”

    I may be going off script here, so bear with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if tears weren’t running down His cheeks as He suffered. Perhaps that is why that verse exists (my tears matter to you, so You keep them in a bottle). It is because His pain mattered, and He understand that—and our tears therefore matter. Some of my most painful memories do not just involve the pain, but that my tears OVER that pain meant nothing to no one.

    She ended her comment beautifully: “Indeed, it may be the belief that it matters to no one that we were harmed that keeps some of us stuck there.”

    Some people heal quickly from car accidents, or wounds sustained in wars or sporting events. Some people cry a lot, or cry very little, or not at all. Some people want to talk about their pain, others refuse to, at least past a certain point. Some people bounce back and pick back up where they left off. Others can’t or won’t do that.

    The ONE thing I want when I am confiding or confessing very personal, private thoughts or needs or experiences—-is to be listened to. Pastor Sam, I believe, has written about this. It is a big reason why people do not go to pastors or church leaders.

    I have sadly been guilty of being a rotten listener. Ironically, I learned something of this from watching a congressional hearing about sexual assault in the American military. A woman was reading her testimony for a committee. One older man was listening to her so intently, and his facial expression was so serious, I could almost HEAR him taking her words in.

    The Lord Himself, who already knows what we are going to say BEFORE we say it (or think it!) likely listens like this—-only much more so! This is what I would ask of myself, and of anyone else. Hear me out until the end, hear ALL of my words, and then hear your own words. Were you listening to me at all?

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