Of all the Days!
It is Good Friday. Today I’m coming out of the closet.
(Please note – I wrote this 3 years ago exactly on Good Friday 2013, but was in my ‘I’m too fearful to go public with my writing days’. This is it in its original form with a few minor changes. It was written at the time everyone was putting this:
on their Facebook page over their pictures, remember that?)
All through the day, I am thinking how thankful I am that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Most people here in the good old USA believe that, so they say, 85% by the latest surveys. Today is the day of all days, I want to show my gratefulness to God for the tremendous sacrifice, the pain and suffering, the Love He poured out for us, the lamb of God, the ultimate sacrifice He did for us.
But, I’m out in the yard and I hit this thorn-bush, what looks like the same type we read about in the Bible that was jammed into Jesus head. A humiliating and extra painful etch, so we were told, to go with the whipping, the nails in His hands, and the worst possible death one can suffer in dying the most horrible possible death. Yet somehow, in all the pain and all the temptations brought to Him in 33 years He never sinned, not even once.
Today, while doing some bush trimming along our fence line I sight unseen discovered these thorns. I was pricked in the pinky by the thorn ring in the picture. It felt as if it went from the tip of my finger all the way through the nail.
While singing hallelujahs and in a chipper mood, of all the days in one fleeting moment, I break one of the 10 commandments and shout out the ultimate do not do for a Christian.
Forget about how bad it hurt, and even now a few hours later it is still throbbing, is swollen, and is black and blue. One teeny prick compared to what He went through. A pinky prick and I lose it and not only voiced aloud the curse at God, but I shouted it loud enough for anyone within a mile to hear it. Our field is in a valley, sort of, so I imagined it echoing endlessly for the whole world to hear.
My old Catholic upbringing guilt flooded my mind. I looked at the blood rushing from my finger and could see and feel it throbbing up and down and all around like a beached whale gasping for air. Despite the pain, I could only think about what I had said. What a no self-control filled schmuck I was. On Good Friday, the day Jesus died, I smashed the third commandment.
Something compelled me to take a picture of the bleeding finger and the thorns. Maybe it was to justify my outburst, just look how long that thorn is. How does one hold back from an outburst from one of those slamming all the way through your finger? I thought, well why didn’t I say SatanDammit instead, isn’t that the real culprit? Atheists claim God doesn’t exist, but I would bet this slip up of mine is one that easily flows from their tongues. Why don’t all people point the blame where it really should be?
Or maybe it is all the red gay pride flags that some of my Facebook friends were posting on their page. I have been trying to just avoid the topic, but the other side of my Facebook friends have used it as an opportunity to condemn those who either are in that camp, or others are siding with the people who live that lifestyle.
It hit me that here I am one that might say ‘hey, I’ve never done that, those people are going to hell for sure’, yet I just blurted out a curse to the God I believe in. The very One whom I was praising a minute before the thorn jammed into my finger. Yep, I was and am, one that needed someone to cover for me. If everyone in the whole world was perfect, here was me in all my vulnerability, needing to be forgiven.
Of all the days, Good Friday, I had a reminder just how far short I come from perfection. How, if judgment day came and there was no lawyer or advocate there for me (to help justify my mistake (SSSS), that I’d be condemned, just like all of us. But there has to be more to it than that, isn’t there? Awesome relief, Good Friday and Easter from the church places say that is my ticket and yours. Those other people who did the really big ones, the murder and red flag stuff I do not do, that is where the judgment day comes in right? But oops, I seem to have covered quite a few of the rest of the list as well.
Why even bother, there is no hope. I might as well just join the rest of the world because I don’t want to be a monk and hide in a closet all my life, as that is about the only way to be perfect-perfect, isn’t it? Or I might as well join the other portion of the world that says there is no way you can be good, so just join the crowd and tell everyone that those who judge are the bad guys.
(At the time I wrote this, my blog was just a thought. If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, you have to read the Do you Dare tab to understand that my writings start light and shift. This one doesn’t quite follow the pattern, but comes close)
Which closet do I come out of?
For this Average Joe, I need to come out of two closets. The first is the one of softening my faith.
I have had to be careful in the world of sales management and working with customers to avoid some topics, my views on God being one of them. But you know what; I am not staying in the closet anymore. What good is His grace and all God has done to prove His love to the world if we just keep it to ourselves and do not share what God has done for us? I would love to talk about the many great things and the many lessons I’ve had in this relationship (post note, which I have been doing if you read my recent posts, please do and like this page on Facebook so others can see them as well). I am a Believer! There is good news. It is oft misunderstood yes, because there is a price that comes with talking about it.
The second is the one that scares people away from most churches, the gotta be perfect Christian. I am not. Some will laugh, no doubt about that dude, we’ve seen you in action plenty of times. That however, is exactly why it is called ‘Good Friday’. You would think that someone, who actually was 100% completely perfect, being killed in the worst possible way on a specific day would surely call it Bad Friday instead of Good Friday. But it was good news, that Jesus came down from heaven to earth, and paid the price for what we have done.
I know every day I need what Christ did for me to be right with God. I share it as I know I can’t possibly pick up a stone and throw it at anyone. Thirty some years ago when I was 19 I realized despite my catholic upbringing and being an all around good guy, lol, I had a lot of faults. I found I needed more than religion, I needed a relationship with God. That day I opened the door of my hidden in the closet heart and hit the R button (repented) and asked God to come into my life and bring much-needed change. That guilt that I felt from the blurt out when the thorn poked through my skin, I needed it washed away for all those past things. Even better news is the Bible that I read says it also covered all my future ones as well. Read here for more on that topic.
Much has happened since then, and sometimes I feel guilty that I have not been the best example ever of a perfect Christian (and those who know me in the real world can attest to plenty). But in beginning that relationship with God, He has been working to make me a witness to His Grace. He’s working on me and each of my faults gets tested a bit to realize I need Him all the time. I screw up at times, but in any relationship there are times where we do or say the wrong thing. The way to fix it is to ask for forgiveness and get it right. With God, that is easy, He is always good, always loving, always ready to forgive. And He helps pick me up and stop doing the things that separate me from Him in that relationship. He sees me as His child that sometimes needs correction (like don’t hurt yourself doing things that harm you and other people) and guides to what is best for me.
In these days when many are now boldly standing up for what they know is well beyond breaking the 3rd commandment, I stand and 1st thank Him for forgiveness. I stand and thank Him that despite the fact any day He could send a flood (like with Noah), or burn a city down (like Sodom & Gomorrah), or He could have sent a legion of angels to rescue him from the Romans on Good Friday, He has chosen to give us a chance to live together in the midst of it all. He is patiently hanging around for everyone to choose to believe, or not. Oh, so there is bad news too?
(Note back then I changed my cover page in lieu of the red stripe flag to this picture of wheat & weeds together)
It refers to what Jesus stated in Matthew 13:24-30. Some day He’ll be back to separate the believers from the non-believers. He said He did not come to judge the world but to bring peace. That peace comes to those who believe in Him and get that relationship right. The war is a spiritual one, believe it or not, God versus that satandarnit.
What is a believer? If you got a text that smoke was coming out of your house and flames were on the roof, if you believed the message you’d get out of the house. If you did not, you’d go right on doing as you were as if there was no reason to do anything differently. Others that don’t believe the house was burning would convince you it is ok and say ‘they are lying’, ‘they are trying to control you’, ‘they must have something up their sleeves’ …. , while those who believed would get out. If the house were really on fire, it would be bad news for those who stayed.
I believe: Good Friday is the remembrance of the need for a sacrifice for all the wrongs we have done and it was fulfilled. It is the solid proof, that God is good and loves everyone. Easter is the proof of Jesus victory over death, it proves God’s power over everything. But ‘death’, which came because of just ONE sin, by Adam and Eve. I have gone on record with just ONE of my many. It ends any argument of what any other person has done whether the red flag kind, or whatever, it makes no difference on the gravity level. We all have fallen short. But, One is enough, and continuing to practice them with no remorse is: not believing. Entering into a true believing relationship produces a born anew position.
Post 2013 note – Is it fiction or do we believe enough to get up and follow? Some will despise and some will rise, where do you stand? I know where I do. I write and tell my struggles as we all have them. I also write because there is hope, I wish I had more boldly come out of the closet to let you know sooner.
If you want a few deeper thoughts on the thorns, this Song by Marshall McLuhen on YouTube drives home the pain and suffering that took place on Good Friday. Coming out of the closet is nothing compared to what happened on this day 2000+ years ago. God is good and He wants to prove His love to you. Actually, He already has, do you believe?
Many tough things to understand, I am always glad to answer questions or field debates public or private. Email me at JoesPortico@gmail.com or leave your comments. I don’t have all the answers, but am glad to try to help, or be corrected if you think I’m off base.