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What If Jesus Didn’t Die For Me?

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What If Jesus Didn’t Die For Me?

He sat in a red chair and watched while I was raped.  I was only four, but I knew who he was.  Jesus didn’t do anything but speak into my mind, over and over, “I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.  You’re going to be OK.”  And I believed him as I slid into darkness from pain and suffocation.

The incest went on for years, and Jesus stayed with me, more like a stray dog than God.  He followed
me into bars and hotel rooms with strangers, in and out of church, through three divorce hearings, into alcoholic blackouts. Sometimes I appreciated his company; sometimes I just wished he would
leave me alone.  Often I took him for granted, but I always knew he was there, as real as I was.

Along the way, our relationship got messed up when church told me that Jesus did things for
those who believed, for those who asked in faith, for those who followed him.  I couldn’t figure out the “follow” part because we always traveled side by side. But what about “faith”?  I had believed Jesus from the very beginning. He did what he said he’d do: never leave.  But what about everything else in my life?  He hadn’t stopped the rapes, kept me out of trouble, helped me get sober.  Whose fault was that?  Apparently mine.  I didn’t have enough faith or pray right or behave enough or or or.

Then I heard that “All things are possible with God.”  Except for me.  It seemed like my Stray Dog God shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Sure, I can do anything, but for you?”  Silence. I knew I could never go to All Saints Academy.  If I got into heaven, which was questionable, my crown would come from Burger King with painted paper jewels.  And the crucifixion story – all that gore and torture made me shudder.  I’d had too much abuse for too long.  Instead of making me feel connected with a fellow sufferer, I fled in revulsion.  If being “washed in the blood of the Lamb” was required for salvation, well…..I couldn’t do that or go there.  I was already lost.  Now I had to stay lost.

So what did that make Jesus for me?  A partner in crime, like the guy at the wheel in the getaway car while I robbed the bank? Or was he my little friend who let me play with his toys until it was time for him to go home to his Daddy? Was Jesus on loan to me until I died and went…….where?  I didn’t know, but I was getting really pissed off.  I had a useless God on my hands whom I loved and hated at the same time, and I didn’t know what to do with him.

The day came when my years of compressed pain and anger erupted all over Jesus.  I screamed at him, wanting to hurt him as badly as I hurt, and to my complete shock, he screamed back – his love.  And that’s how I learned to pray.  We began talking, and I let him have it, trying to be as blasphemous as possible, and he just laughed and said, “Finally!  You’re being honest with me.  Come on, let’s get in the mud and fight dirty.  I love to wrestle.”  And we did, and I didn’t always win, but I always wanted another round.

You see, he wouldn’t give up on me.  What I didn’t realize was I hadn’t ever given up on him, either.  No matter what had gone wrong in my life, I was never alone, never abandoned by my God like so many other people had.  I discovered I couldn’t offend him – he hadn’t ever run off screaming or struck me by
lightening, right?  And come to think of it, Jesus had done a lot for me.  I wasn’t in prison from killing someone while driving drunk.  I wasn’t dead, though I should have been.  Jesus had been working his ass off protecting me.  Why? Because he loved me just as I was. In fact, he made me just like I was, knowing how I’d turn out, which is totally insane.

And then lightening really did strike – in my brain: Jesus had been saving me all my life.
I didn’t have to get saved – I already was.  We shared a deep, personal relationship like I had with no one else.  I was loved and accepted unconditionally, which meant I didn’t have to pray right, have enough faith, act like Mother Teresa, or be someone I wasn’t.  Then lightening struck twice, and I realized it had been awhile since I’d done something self-destructive.  I was getting better at telling the truth, being kind, stuff like that.  I was starting to act like…..him. Last night we were talking outside in the carport, and I said, “I love you so much.  But what about the cruifixion?”  And Jesus said, “Don’t worry about it.  I’ve got you covered.”

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About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

Discussion

  1. Jason Elam  November 8, 2011

    I really love this post. It’s so transparent and honest. Thank you for sharing it. I’ll be passing it along!

    (reply)
    • Joy  November 10, 2011

      You’re welcome, Jason. I appreciate it. Hope you come back and visit my website!

      (reply)
  2. Eva  November 12, 2011

    At the first sentence, I thought ‘oh no, I can’t read this’, but by the end I literally laughed. This is an amazing post.

    (reply)
    • Joy  November 12, 2011

      I’m glad you hung in there ’til the end, Eva. I’m glad I did, too!

      (reply)
      • Cornelia  November 24, 2011

        This piece was a lifeacjket that saved me from drowning.

        (reply)
  3. Wind  November 25, 2011

    Now that’s sultbe! Great to hear from you.

    (reply)
  4. Lorin  November 25, 2011

    I’m impressed by your wiritng. Are you a professional or just very knowledgeable?

    (reply)

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