“The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His cross…as a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is Christ. Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.
The cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher. The sentimental Christ…without His Cross becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears.” (Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ, introduction xxiv-xxv)
We have chosen an “unscarred Christ.” We have dummied down Christ. We’ve turned Him into some hippie-dippie love child who tolerates anything and everything. His famous words to the woman caught in adultery has been revised from, “Go, and sin no more,” to, “Go, and live it up!”
The world has dictated a new Christ to us, and the church bought it hook, line and sinker. We need to be more tolerant. We need to be quiet. We need to be soft spoken. We need to be passive. We need to be more open minded. We need to get with the times. We need to modernize God and the cross, which simply means we forget Christ ever hung on it. Instead we see Jesus as a “peace keeper.” Jesus did NOT keep the peace. He stirred things up drastically!
We’ve forgotten that Christ overturned the tables at the Temple and even made a whip to drive the sellers out! He demanded—not in a soft tone, but in a hearty holler—for them to leave His Father’s house. We forget that Christ called out the religious leaders time and time again, putting them in their place. We forget that Christ even said to His followers, “How long must I put up with you?” with their constant squabbling and competitions.
We forget that Christ pushed the limits and confronted sin—not glazed over it. We forget that Christ told parables knowing full well it would offend the Pharisees. We forget that Christ challenged everyone’s way of living and thinking, knowing full well they would be persecuted for it. We forget that Jesus knew that people were fake and only followed Him for what He could do for them, and not for Who He was. We forget that Christ told us we would lose family and friends if we followed Him, or worse yet, lose our lives. But that’s too radical. That’s a rebellious Christ, not the peaceful Jesus, who was a nice, kind teacher. We don’t want a radical God, and we surely don’t want a rebellious One.
If Jesus doesn’t have holes in His hands and feet, and a scar on His side when you consider Him, you’ve dummied Him down. If Christ is allowing sin to now be “normal” and justified, then you’ve dummied Him down. If Christ is easy to get along with, then you’ve dummied Him down. If Christ is soft spoken and only speaks of happiness, wealth and peace, then you’ve dummied Him down.
You cannot have the Cross without Christ, or Christ without scars. And you can’t reinvent Jesus to be what the world demands Him to be so they feel better about themselves. Jesus never lied to the people about their sin, and He’s not going to start now.