Human beings love stories of redemption.
They line our Netflix menus and our movie theatre titles and bookstore bookshelves, and we love redemption and we love the redeemed.
We love the redeemed. We don’t love the being redeemed.
In theological terms, we demand the Resurrection without the cross in our relationships.
And yet it’s the cross that’s the ultimate symbol of love. It’s the cross that suffers with; it’s the cross that redeems. It’s the cross that bears the suffering of the Other, even as that suffering proves to us incomprehensible, even as that suffering magnifies uncertainties and fears, even as that suffering wins us disapproval from they who demand Resurrection without the cross.
I’ve witnessed Young Woman, hands-covered face, waterfall tears, heart fragmented by twenty-plus pages, words, thousands upon thousands of killer words tearing her right to shreds, barely-existing. Young Woman in church pew, Young Woman surely past forgiveness and surely past love if what they say’s true, Young Woman noticed by Former Addict, older man who welcomed redemption with outstretched arms and who outstretches his arms to Crying Strangers.
Former Addict who’s borne the weight of sin and guilt, of merciless labels and disapproval, who’s laid that weight upon Calvary and walked upright.
Former Addict’s closer to Calvary’s hero than he or she who’s never touched a drug and who’s never touched the hand of the suffering.