And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit (Matthew 27:50).
Finally, after several attempts to get them to see the futility in their positions, I conceded any further hope of a ceasefire. From my chair, there would be no redemptive relational progress on that day. They were too mad, too self-justified, too hurt, too unforgiving, and too stubborn to change. At that point, I gave up and recommended that the combatants continue their fighting. Yes, I told them to pursue their anger toward each other. Keep on keeping on. Duke it out. Then I paused and added, “But under one condition, I want to make a stipulation.” I said they could continue to fight all they wanted to as long as I could choose the location of all their future skirmishes. I said,
I want you to climb Golgotha’s bloody hill, where the multitudes scorned the Savior, and where His Father judged Him for every sin in the world (Matthew 27:32-44). I want you to go to Calvary, the place where the crucified Son of God became sin for you. The place where the Sovereign Judge punished all the wrongs in your marriage (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christ took this Christian couple’s sin by willingly giving up His life to the scorching judgment of His Father. His actions gave this pair a free pass, so to speak; God would never judge them for their past, present, and future sins (John 8:36; Romans 8:1). I further appealed to them as they prepared to duke it out to position their bodies in such a way that the cross of Christ would be in their sight lines. My hope was for them to get so close to the cross that the blood of the dying Lamb could figuratively drop on them as they sought to bite and devour each other (Galatians 5:15).
Then I added that it would benefit them to intentionally, on occasion, glance at that cross during their conflict so that while they were wounding each other, they would be able to be reminded of the One whom God wounded for their transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). I hoped that the wooden beam (Matthew 7:3-5) would become an impediment to their blows and that they would have to figuratively reach or stretch around the cross before the other person could experience the intended pain. I wanted the cross to always be in their view significantly as their anger toward each other escalated.
As things stood, the cross was not preeminent in their thinking. At best, Christ was on the periphery of their lives as they persisted in their argumentation and criticalness. I wanted them to visually discern and viscerally experience the historical fact of the dying Lamb of God. I hoped God’s Spirit would burn the gospel deep into their minds. I wanted them to be affected by the horrible realities of the cross of Christ.
What is your favorite song about the cross? If you don’t have one, I recommend a classic When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. I want you to memorize a “cross song” and sing it to yourself throughout your day while asking the Lord to affect you by the death of Christ. Let His death grip and transform your soul. May the cross come between you two.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).