Today is Good Friday.
In my church where I grew up, on Good Friday there is an evening service. It was a somber, dark service. After it was through, everyone would leave the darkened sanctuary and exit silently.
Three days later, on Sunday, we’d all return in our bright dresses and Easter hats, with trumpets playing and the Easter garden full of lilies in the front of the sanctuary.
Now, as a young adult, I woke up today, contemplating Good Friday and what it means. It’s the day that Jesus was betrayed, beaten, humiliated, and crucified.
Those of us who know the story know that this was not how it ended. But as a child, the focus was so much on the victory that came with His resurrection, that His death and the despair of Good Friday often got lost in the midst of preparing for the celebration of things.
Knowing that He suffered and died, so that I wouldn’t have to die for my sin, really contemplating what He did for me, I find myself asking one question:
How then shall I live?
If I were to focus daily on his sacrifice, the outcome would look like:
• Daily joy rather than regret, knowing that I have been fully forgiven. This means instead of living in the past and feeling shame for what I’ve done wrong, I live free and joyfully in the present.
• Forgiving people who have hurt me, knowing that my perfect Savior forgives me for all my ugly. This means never bringing up another person’s past offenses against me and wiping their slates clean like Jesus did for me.
• Practicing compassion, by regularly putting myself in the other person’s shoes. This means taking the time to figure out their point of view and not making judgments about other people.
• Commitment in my relationships, walking with my friends through their good times and their ugly times. This means realizing that not all my friendships are for my benefit all the time, but that sometimes my sole purpose in the friendship is to be there for them.
• Remembering that it is an honor to bear His name and walk everyday with the purpose of bringing glory to Him. The realization that I carry his name and that my actions can lead people to Him or away from Him, should be reflected in how I live.
My debts are paid because of this day. Today I will walk somberly in that knowledge, and like every Easter Sunday before this one, I will join in the celebration of His victory over death.
First Peter 3:18
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."