This article was written for all kinds of people – for those who live in a perpetual fear of being socially unaccepted, for those who are afraid to share themselves with others, for those who are too hard and calloused towards others to recognize the cry of a desperate life. It was written for those who enjoy life, for those who hold dreams close to their hearts, and for those who patiently seek to build and shape the lives of people they love. This article was written because at some time in our lives we all are these kind of people and most of us fail to see beyond the types we set up to what lives in other’s hearts. It is the cross that opens our eyes.
Hurt. There are few things in life more capable of dragging up the human heart that hurt. The wounds it leaves behind may never heal or when they do, the remaining ugly white scars continue to press into consciousness a remnant of the pain left from yesterday’s hurt.
Hurt often marks some of the greatest landmarks in our lives. The wonder of a discovering child may be marked with the hurt of failure and words of reproach. Or separation may lance itself deeply into the love of a young couple and the agony of hurt may tear open two hearts. Hurt does not by-pass parents either. It may crash into their lives in forms of parent-child alienation or leave massive wounds in the aftermath of sorrow and death. Hurt inches itself into the lives of the young and the old most often in forms of loneliness, a disease which eats away self-confidence and trust. Hurt works through words too. Even life’s strongest ties of love and understanding are marred and torn by cruel words. Marriages are rent by barrages of angry words or by words that cruelly point up short-comings and weaknesses. Hurt tags those friendships that are broken through words of snobbery and through unkind gossips. Words not spoken cause hurt to thrive in almost everyone’s heart. Kindness not recognized, accomplishment not praised, and
happiness not shared leave behind hurt that so easily grows to bitterness. Both unspoken apologies and unvoiced praise allow hurt to breed barriers of envy and jealousy.
One often wonders why our lives must be so often marked with the agony of hurt. And yet, when we hurt somehow it is always easier to find the road that leads to Calvary. When people fail us, the face of Jesus shines more brightly in the darkness and to find the way to the cross through sorrow and it see that path through tears makes it become a bit less difficult. Then too, it is easier to see the throng of aching hearts and broken up lives that are stumbling on that same road to the cross. But not only is it easier to see into the depths of other’s lives, but suddenly our own lives turn themselves inside out and an awareness of weakness and a realization of how incapable we are of handling life’s troubles and hurts floods our souls. Filled with dismay, frustration and agony, we climb the last incline to the cross and there meet Jesus Christ. We see that his face is lined with sorrow, criss-crossed with eternal lines of suffering. His eyes meet ours. Wordlessly and gently he searches our hurting hearts, overturns hidden thought of desperation and listens to the sobs.
Amazed, we turn again to look into his piercing eyes. They speak of sorrow but also of strength. His entire visage is marred with scars and wounds – scars and wounds from thousands of years. As a father he has borne the insults and rebellions of his ungrateful children and suddenly we become acutely aware of our own contributions to those wounds. Feeling again the wounds of hurt with which we came to this place, we gratefully sigh as His words like balm have healed us enough to go back into life once again. Having given to us of his limitless Self, a Self bearing more sorrow, agony, and hurt than our lives could ever know, we humbly turn from Him and with lifted heads and reflecting hearts are ready to face the hurt in life with more courage and more strength.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 7 November 1971