You know that bad, black hole feeling you get when you’ve done something you know you shouldn’t have done? Spoke something inappropriate? Treated someone poorly? Took something that wasn’t yours? Acted immorally? Fed your addiction? Took a relationship to a level you didn’t mean to take it to? Lied? Cheated? Stolen?
That feeling is the single worst feeling in the world. A vast, empty, black hole of shame and remorse that seems to eat you from the inside out. You try to ignore it - to do something that will help distract you from it. And you wait it out hoping it will start to diminish quickly and you’ll once again feel normal.
It’s the feeling of sin.
I wish I could say I’ve had the good fortune to not feel that condemning, shameful feeling. Unfortunately, I’ve felt it too many times to count. My sins have been great. I’m not talking about the born-with-sin sins...I’m talking about the blatant, wide-open, intentional, in-your-face sins. And the feeling that consumes me whole the next day is not just overwhelming. It’s suffocating.
It was just Easter weekend, the time when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from death. Some acknowledge it as just another holiday that gives you permission to eat a lavish meal with family and friends. But for me, a Christian, it’s the realization that Jesus suffered brutal beatings and was crucified on a cross. For me. And not just for me, but for all who would accept Him.
I started thinking on Sunday about how I absolutely hate that black hole feeling of my sin. And how I do everything I can to avoid circumstances that would tempt me to act in a way where that feeling automatically follows. Then I started thinking about Jesus. And how he hung on that cross, absorbing all my sin. For me. All the times I’ve sinned and felt that black hole of guilt, He took it upon Himself all at once. And not just mine all at once, but everyone’s all at once. And not just everyone’s now, today, but everyone’s who has ever been and ever will be. All of it. At one time.
Billions of people. Trillions of sins. Trillions of black holes of shame and remorse and condemnation, all-consuming and overwhelming and suffocating Jesus all at once. On the cross. For me. For you. Because He chose to. Because of love.
The Easter story has always meant more to me than just the bunny bringing chocolate and a ham dinner. But for some reason, this weekend, it became more real. It’s not something I know, it’s something I KNOW. That horrible feeling that overwhelms me after one intentional failure was absorbed by Jesus a trillion times over in one selfless moment. And it killed Him. But He did it anyway. Because of love.
The gratitude I feel this Easter is almost painful. It’s incomprehensible, and makes me heart feel so full it feels like it could burst into a thousand pieces. My human mind and heart are incapable of fully embracing the impact of what His willingness means. But I will continue to try.
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” (John 13:1)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
(1 John 3:16)