cross-wooden_smThe Cross looms large in human thought and history. It stands as a magnificent monument to love. But it is also a grim reminder of the cost of sin. The cross brings out both the best and worst in men. It has inspired men to climb the highest roads of sacrifice and nobility, but its existence also reveals the abysmal depths to which men can sink. There would have been no Calvary if there had not, first, been depraved hearts that desired it. Among those who helped make Calvary possible was the anonymous builder of the cross. Who was he??? He is not named in the Bible. But he existed. The cross had a maker! Perhaps he was a master carpenter who used his gifts to craft an engine of torture for One Who was a Carpenter and more. Maybe be had nothing personal against Jesus but was only “Following orders,” “just doing his job”. After it was over maybe he even used one of the following timeworn excuses to justifiy what he did…

1.“A Man Has To Live.” All manner of questionable practices are justified by this excuse. A man puts his business above God, or exploits his employees, or stabs a competitor in the back and then pleads: “A man has to live.” The early Christian, Tertullian, once reproved a fellow Christian for making shrines for heathen temples. The man shrugged his shoulders and said: “It is my business — a man must live.” Whereupon Tertullian responded, “Must you?” Does anyone really have the right to live by making crosses?

2.“If I Didn’t Someone Else Would.” Every black and foul deed imaginable has hidden behind this feeble line. Politicians use it to quiet their anguished conscience when they sell their vote; tavern keepers use it to justify their existence; smut peddlers use it to defend their pornographic empires; and a great many “ordinary” people use it to excuse their shady deals and borderline morality. Surely, the fact that others are willing to make crosses does not justify doing so?

3.“I’m Not Responsible For The Way It Is Used.”  A man drinks himself to a stupor and kills a family on the highway and the liquor industry self-righteously insists: “It is not our fault if our product is misused.” Young people feed on violent, obscene song lyrics and video games and then if they act out their murderous impulses by shooting school children or themselves, record moguls and game developers smugly deny any responsibility. Psychologists and law enforcement officials have repeatedly testified concerning the link between pornography and the violent abuse of women and children but the porno-peddlers shrug their shoulders and whine: “We are not to blame if our material falls into the hands of unbalanced people.” This dodge is as old as Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Surely, responsibility to our brother forbids us to construct crosses on which he can be crucified!

Excuses are easy to make. But be sure of this: Those who make them are generally making crosses as well! This is also true: There would be no crucifixions if there were no crosses.   — BOBBY DOCKERY Fayetteville, Arkansas

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