Recently, to honor the passing of one of our favorite actors, my family viewed the incredible movie Dead Poet’s Society. In one iconic scene, Robin Williams, as the eccentric Professor Keating, tells his students that he steps up on his desk to “remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” One by one, the boys follow his lead. Of course he’s helping them to break free from limited thinking. A new viewpoint opens a myriad of possibilities.
Here’s a clip of that amazing scene.
In prayer, I often ponder Christ on the cross where I can leave my hurts, unforgiveness, stress and other life bondage. But this week Jesus had another suggestion.
“Look through my eyes.”
Hmmm. What was HIS view like that fateful day? If I’m going to glibly say I take up my cross daily to follow Christ, perhaps I’d better see what He saw.
In my mind’s eye I look out from the cross. What does scripture tell us about that scene?
There are the condemning eyes of the Scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law who believe they are obeying God by killing a blasphemer. They are yelling cruel comments such as, “He saved others. Let him save himself!”
There are the soldiers who just drove nails in His hands and feet. They are bawdy, generally immoral men trained to carry out orders with callous hearts accustomed to the horrors of war. Perhaps they are even getting drunk to cope with their assigned duties. Throughout the night and day, they have beaten, cursed, spit on, whipped the skin from his body, crammed on a crown of thorns and abused Jesus in every imaginable way. In this moment, they are gambling to see who wins Jesus’ garment. Christ is in unimaginable pain while they play a game.
There are some of the people healed through Jesus’ ministry. The lepers are clean, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and the dead live because of him. Their eyes gaze up, hurt and confused. Did he lie? Is his power from Satan like the teachers of the law say?
There are the tormented eyes of his mother, his closest friend, and the woman who loved him for the chains of sin and condemnation from which he released her. He can do nothing to ease their pain. He must finish his assignment even though his obedience tortures them.
There are the eyes of one who suffers the same public torture. One of the thieves is watching Jesus’ every move and noting every word. At death’s door, this one man gets it. He brings hope in the midst of Christ’s torment; the first to receive new life due to Jesus’ obedience.
We all look into the faces of those surrounding us as we aim to love and obey our Heavenly Father. Can I, like Christ, say, “Father forgive them” when injured, insulted, vilified and/or purposely wounded? Can I face the very ones in my life who wield a whip that flays my soul and choose to forgive? Can I let go of my need for revenge? Can I bless those who curse? Can I obey God’s plan even if key loved ones don’t understand? Do I stop obeying as if God hasn’t considered them?
Taking up my cross is far more than simply embracing God’s best plan for my life. My cross is to continue on the path even when—especially when—that path leads through pain or even intentional cruelty. I have never faced the torment Jesus endured. Through Christ’s eyes of love, my daily grudges, temptations and hurts pale. I can choose to say, “Father, forgive them.”
Father, please forgive me. I truly don’t know what I’m doing when I refuse to forgive those for whom you died. I will choose to see through Your eyes.
Child of the One True King, wife to the best man alive, mom to four VERY unique human beings & author of two bestsellers:
The Fall &
with more on the way.