As a blogger, one should never intentionally provoke readers. After all, bloggers want readers to return again and again, and angry readers don’t tend to come back. So I have hesitated to write this particular blog piece for quite a while, and yet it keeps coming up over and over, so I am almost helpless in this decision to write this piece. Almost. I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind, and trust that my readers are up for the challenge.
It’s not hard these days to look around and find the image of the cross on just about anything. Last summer I saw bejeweled crosses on a woman’s flip-flops! I have seen it on t-shirts, purses, jean pockets, earrings, and necklaces, but never flip-flops before. I’ve noticed lots of pretty and colorful crosses on front doors in the town where I live. Some are polka dotted or striped, and some are decorated with the colors of college football teams. I see these crosses, often adorned with bling, and I wonder what Jesus must think of it all.
Lately, I have begun to wonder if it hasn’t been a carefully thought out operation by the Enemy to dilute the meaning of the cross for the Christian and non-Christian alike. I’m not trying to be a killjoy, but when you think about it, wearing the cross as flip-flop adornment is completely silly. How belittling it is to such a pivotal event in human history.
While I do not believe we should worship the cross itself, I do believe as Christians we must never forget what it truly represents.
Crucifixion was an ancient method of deliberate, slow, and painful execution in which the condemned person was tied or nailed to a large wooden cross, and left to hang until dead.
That’s what the cross was used for. When Jesus hung on one, I’ll bet there was no one in attendance wearing one around his or her neck, or upon their clothing for decoration. Can you imagine Jesus’ mother, Mary, wearing one on a chain around her neck? In that day, everyone likely understood the horror of that death sentence. I even wonder what an ancient Roman would think of us using it as jewelry or décor today. I seriously doubt there were kiosk vendors at public crucifixions selling crosses as event souvenirs.
I have a couple of cross necklaces, but I no longer wear them regularly. I wear one on “Good Friday”, and intentionally on other days, to remind me of the sacrifice Jesus made for me. Perhaps that’s why other people wear a cross around their necks, too. I hope so, but I have a feeling that many crosses hang around necks just because they are pretty or match a particular outfit. Sometimes we wear them to tell the world whose we are, yet we have mouths for that, don’t we? I seriously doubt it’s why anyone would wear a sparkly one on their shoes, or embroidered into their Buckle jeans pockets.
I’m not saying we should all get rid of our crosses. I’m just saying that I have been convinced to tread carefully where the image or representation of the cross is concerned. I never want to become desensitized to what it means for me and for every other person. It is the symbol of my salvation, of a debt paid that I could never repay myself. It represents the darkest day in history, the day that God the Father turned his back upon his son… for me… and for you.
The cross must be more than a mere adornment. We can’t let the Enemy steal the symbol, and make it frivolous and worthless. He would love nothing more than to turn the cross into a plaything, and water down its impact on the world. Let’s not let that happen. Satan was defeated because of that cross and because of Christ’s victory over the grave. Let us not be so far removed from that truth that we allow ourselves to be made fools of. Before we purchase something embellished with the symbol of the cross, let’s make sure we aren’t using it merely for decoration. The cross of Christ symbolized is sacred and deserves a higher place than that. It should always point our hearts toward Jesus for his sacrifice, and to our heavenly Father for his unfailing love.