Good Friday turned great just before midnight. That’s when my pride died.
This side of heaven, it won’t stay dead.
I cannot share details. But I can tell you that it happened when a friend confronted me about my wounding words.
Before Pride Died
But before pride died, I want you to know that the words I write do rattle around in my head. By them, I will be justified, or condemned. If I know the truth and ignore it, I’m worse than hot air. I’m a hypocrite.
So sought out the kernel of truth, even though her criticism seemed off. I tried to apply the cure for passive-aggressive–trust that God means good, leave him your hurt, and do good. By grace, I try to take my advice.
Especially that night, because Good Friday is good.
Why Good Friday Is Good
Good Friday is good because “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3), and because, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). And it’s good because “The punishment that brought us peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
Good Friday is good because by Christ’s death, we are freed from the penalty of sin and the guilt of sin. Because he who knew no sin bore our sins.
That is why Good Friday is good.
Marahs Made Sweet
I read and re-read my friend’s words. They stung. But I knew there was a grain of truth in them, because I know there is sin in me. So I confessed, not of all of which she accused, but of the bit I knew was true.
But that layer removed, attitudes were revealed, proud thoughts of which my friend had no clue. Then, just before midnight, I fell into bed and paged to a prayer called “The Grace of the Cross.”
O My Saviour,
I thank thee from the depths of my being
for thy wondrous grace and love
in bearing my sin in thine own body on the tree.
May thy cross be to me
as the tree that sweetens my bitter Marahs…
I got that far before the bitter tears began to flow. Bitter, in Hebrew, is marah. The Israelites found water too bitter to drink and called the place Marah (Exodus 15:22-27). Then the Lord showed Moses “a piece of wood.” He threw it in the water and the water turned sweet.
Wood turned bitter water sweet.
I remember when I taught the story to my Sunday school class. Millie and Michaela and Audrie got it. They saw the cross of Christ.
They understood it was wood that makes our bitter water sweet.
How Good Friday Turned Great
Last night I tasted both. Bitterness first. It was my sin that held him there.
Somehow, that night as I wept like a hot mess, the bitterness became sweet. I knew I was forgiven by my crucified King.
Christ died for this.
Feeling that was how Good Friday turned great. The cross makes our confessed sins, even our most embarrassing and ugly and bitter sins, sweet. Because, Who confesses and forsakes finds mercy (Prov. 28:13).
That is when bitter turns sweet, and good becomes great. We stand forgiven at the cross. We remember and we celebrate:
Christ died for this.
I saw my sin loud and clear last night. But I also saw the cross and confessed and found mercy and grace.
And that is how Marah became sweet and Good Friday turned great.
In confession we break through to the true fellowship of the Cross of Jesus Christ, in confession we affirm and accept our cross…
The old man dies, but it is God who has conquered him. Now we share in the resurrection of Christ and eternal life.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together