Reading through Jesus’ crucifixion feels new and painful every time. To know that any innocent man was mocked, beaten, and murdered is sickening, but when you really try to grasp that it was our perfect, loving LORD, it takes your breath away. Or it should.
Reading through the account found in Luke 23, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Jesus’ death came to be, logistically, that is. The men who captured Him and questioned Him, the leaders, Pilate and Herod, who allowed for His demise, and the crowd of mockers…were all people just like me. They breathed air, worked, ate, drank, slept, and lived (most of them anyway) ordinary lives. How did they come to be a part of the most awful death in history? This event was prophesied years before, and they were fulfilling God’s plan…but how did the crowd of mockers come to be part of the evil that was to befall Jesus?
I’m no theologian, but I believe most of those people happened there as a part of their very normal existence. They became involved in something so horrindous, because they allowed evil to gradually influence their natural reactions to the surroundings. Little bits of evil.
Years ago, I worked in a place with several women who were accustomed to gossip. Up until that point in my life, I wouldn’t have said a bad word about another person. But as I worked in that environment, without a guard up to the negativity around me, I began to allow their influence to overtake me. Little bits of evil.
Marriage begins beautifully, but stress, hurt, and selfishness begin to tear down what the LORD built up. Little bits of evil.
Children crave adventure and love, but dysfunctional family members, broken classmates, and strangers gradually introduce them to hatred. Their hearts break and fear enters in through the cracks. Little bits of evil.
Pain and brokenness, selfishness and pride, hatred that would kill the LORD do not come about suddenly. We have a choice to make every moment of every day. It is an illusion that our actions are inconsequential or that our decisions affect only ourselves individually. Jesus was not killed by one man alone. His death was brought about by many men who were daily influenced by one another’s negativity. They weren’t born to be murderers, but their hatred grew through small choices over the course of time. When they came together, their sin-filled hearts and evil actions compounded to encourage the death of a King.
Will I be a part of the demise of my LORD, or an agent of mercy in the Kingdom coming?
As I faced the last year of sadness, regret, loneliness, and uncertainty, there were family members and friends around me who held me up. A meal shared, a load of laundry washed, a shoulder to cry on, a card in the mail, a word of encouragement. Little bits of mercy.
A marriage is rebuilt day by day. Second chances are given, and the opportunity for understanding is granted. Little bits of mercy.
A lonely child is not only brought out of the foster care system, but also showered with new toys, clothes, bedding, hugs, kisses, new friends, smiles from kind strangers at church. Little bits of mercy.
Smile at your waitress and leave her a generous tip. Talk to the new person in your office. Greet the visitor at church. Send a card, give a hug, cook a meal, change a tire, say a prayer, say so many prayers…and avoid the gossip. Say no to negativity. Don’t seek revenge. Don’t return hatred.
Every moment is the choice to choose evil or to choose mercy. Small kindness adds up to great love.
Will you join the mockers, or will you share in Jesus’ life-giving love?