One might argue that the universal symbol for Christianity is the cross. When we see one on a building we might think it’s a church, when we see someone wearing a cross on a necklace we might think it represents their faith, and when we see one on the side of a highway we might think that it somehow brings comfort in a time of loss.
The cross is likely to be the universal symbol for Christianity and yet there are so many who are offended by its presence.
The removal of Christian symbols such as the cross (like the one created in the rubble of Ground Zero), or a monument of the Ten Commandments from public buildings has been a hot topic in America during the last couple of decades. Some can’t understand why it is so important and others can’t understand why it is so offensive. As a Christian, I am concerned when it is so important to remove symbols of my faith but probably not for the reason some might think.
It was on a cross that our Savior Jesus Christ chose to become the perfect sin offering. This was not a last minute decision; it was not an example of God’s need for vengeance and this was not something that was forced upon Jesus unwillingly. The crucifixion of Jesus was the manifestation of God’s love for His creation. In Hebrews 12:2 it is stated that Jesus, “for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV).
This was His joy because of the immense love that He has for you and for every person on this planet. Paul said, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This was God demonstrating His love for us! Here is where we often fail when it comes to the cross.
How many call themselves Christians and yet do not demonstrate the love that Christ has for us? How many Christians carry the symbol of the cross as they spew hatred to people because of their sexual orientation? How many Christians carry the symbol of the cross and share the message, “You are not welcome here, go home?” How many times has the cross been placed in the front yard of a person and lit on fire in order to intimidate? How many times has the cross been carried while conveying hatred to our fellow man? And so I ask, “Is it any wonder people are offended?”
This is why I am bothered when Christian symbols are removed from public places because for some people the cross has become the symbol of the very thing Jesus died on to save us.
It was for love that Jesus died; He gave up His Spirit on the cross—it was not taken (John 19:30), and He did not do this while we were holy, or good, or righteous, or baptized in our parents’ church; He did this while we were still sinners. This is how Jesus demonstrates love. How do we?
Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I pray we would consider the importance of becoming Christ like. That we would seek to love as Jesus loves. That we would become a people who would put more effort into loving as Christ loved than in defending a “thing.” When we finally do this we can change the universal symbol of Christianity from a cross into love. Only then will the cross truly be symbolic of the one true God; and prayerfully, a symbol of hope to everyone.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet at 9 a.m. Sundays for Sunday school and at 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!