Thursday, March 01, 2012

Suffering willingly

“At the cross believers were transformed. In its light they received the wisdom of God. And they purposed upon their confession of faith to identify in the suffering and shame of the One who had died there for their sins. The cross became the symbol of the life-governing ethics of the new way. When, for their faith, believers lost their possessions, their inheritances, their families, or their reputation, they associated all such loss with their identification with the cross of Christ, and they counted it not loss but gain, not sorrow but joy. Earthly loss for their faith in Christ meant dying with Him, and therefore gave them solid hope for resurrection with Him.

“To suffer willingly, to receive insult without retaliation, to lose possessions without resistance—this was not heroic action by traditional Jewish standards. To the Jews the resister was the hero, the one who never gave up; who even under Roman rule was indomitable. The Romans held a similar value. Though separated from the Jews by race, culture, and social standards, with the Jew they believed in honor by the exercise of physical strength and force. Taking up the cross, meaning being willing to suffer wrong, was therefore a shame in the eyes of both the Jews and the Romans. To both cultures the Christians became the offscouring of humanity, the contemptible sect; in Jesus' predictive words, the 'hated for my name's sake.'”—Love and Nonresistance, pages 78-79

<idle musing>
Wow. There's a lot of good stuff there to digest... I especially like this: "...with the Jew they believed in honor by the exercise of physical strength and force." Not much has changed in 2000 years, except now we can substitute "American culture" for "the Romans."
</idle musing>

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