What is so good about Good Friday?

Imagine the early disciples on the first Good Friday. It certainly wasn’t good in their eyes. Their leader has just been killed, by the state.

This wasn’t a drive by. This wasn’t a domestic dispute. This wasn’t an accident. The authorities put him on trial and then the crowd decided that Jesus was going to die. They freed a murderer instead.

They knew they were upsetting the status quo with their little group but they didn’t know it would lead to Jesus being crucified.

They’ve been up all night with him. They were keeping watch while he prayed. Well, they weren’t really doing a great job of it. He kept finding them asleep. They were sleeping in bits and pieces, outside, on the ground. It wasn’t a restful night. He’d told them what was going to happen but they didn’t really get the severity of it. They certainly didn’t think it would end like it did.

The soldiers came, with Judas. Here’s someone they know. It will all work out OK, they are sure of that. Nope. There’s a fight. A soldier’s ear gets cut off. Jesus gets taken away. Nothing makes sense anymore.

And then this. No last minute reprieve. He’s dead.

Crucifixion is a terrible way to die. It is humiliating. It is long and slow. You suffocate to death, nearly naked, in front of everybody. Meanwhile you are in agony because of the nails that are holding you onto the cross. No anesthesia. No mercy. It is a cruel death – one designed to send a message. Don’t challenge the system or you’ll meet the same fate.

Everything has turned upside down for them. Nothing makes sense. Everyone and everything appears to be against them, and the person they would ask for advice is dead.

They are wondering if they are next.

Where is the person who stilled the raging sea? Where is the person who healed all those people? They are needing healing themselves right about now. There is a raging storm in their hearts, and there is nobody there to say “Be still!”

Let us sit in this moment.

Scattered. Lost. Abandoned. All hope is lost.

Don’t run away from this feeling. You have to live thorough it.

We are those disciples.

We are wondering where is God now. We think God has forsaken us.

We don’t see a happy ending to this story.

Sit with this feeling. Don’t rush ahead to the end of the story. Don’t rush ahead to Easter. You know how this ends. They didn’t. Be those disciples. Feel this loss. Feel all hope draining out of you. Feel the exhaustion and the fear.

And know that God is still with you, even in this moment, even in this agony.

Personal accountability

I knew a guy who joined a gym, and he wanted me to “Make him accountable.” He wanted me to remind him to go, and to ask him if he had gone. I didn’t. I made sure to tell him that I wouldn’t.

That isn’t my job. I’m not his Mom, or his wife, or his boss. And here’s the most amazing thing – even if I was any of those things, it still isn’t my responsibility.

This is the heart of codependence. He was trying to get me to be responsible for his actions, rather than making himself responsible for his own actions.

He has to want to change, and to want to make it happen. If he isn’t motivated enough to do it on his own, he isn’t ready for it yet. If he needs a coworker to remind him, he isn’t ready.

Imagine what would happen if I had said I would remind him, and I didn’t. Then, the fact that he didn’t go would have been my fault. This is the heart of it all.

Blaming other people for your problems is the problem itself.

Once you become an adult you are responsible for everything you do. Nobody gets you up in the morning to go to work. Nobody makes your breakfast. Nobody takes you to work. Nobody does your work for you. It is all you, all the time. Anything less than that and you aren’t an adult.

Being over 21 doesn’t make you an adult. Your actions do. And the core of all of that is being responsible for yourself and not expecting other people to take care of you. Going hand in hand with that is that if you make a mistake, you own up to it.

If you have to have someone else make you do something, then you really didn’t even do it. You can’t take credit for it. The work isn’t really yours.