Nine times out of ten, when I look in the mirror, I see my big, goofy face staring back. But, on that tenth time, my eyes focus, not on my visage and its various imperfections, but on the small silver cross that hangs from a thin chain around my neck. And my worldview makes a sudden, seismic shift from shallow vanity to eternal truth. And that is why I wear the symbol of my Lord's shame and torture and death -- to remember that I have been purchased at a great price.
Keith Green, in his amazing and convicting sermon, "What's Wrong with the Gospel," asserted that he did not think that the cross was an appropriate thing to wear as jewelry. He said, "If Jesus had been killed in the electric chair, would we wear small replicas of that around our necks?" This gave me pause, and I had to think long and hard about whether God wanted me to continue to wear my cross. I decided to continue to wear it for two reasons. The first is that I do not see it as jewelry, per se. I do not wear the cross to draw attention to myself, nor to adorn my body for personal gratification. I wear it for that tenth time that I look in the mirror -- to remember anew what my Savior did for me at Calvary. And, secondly, I would wear an electric chair around my neck, were that the method by which I had been saved from hell and redeemed of my sins. I would wear it gratefully, joyfully, prayerfully -- as I hope I wear the cross.
I used to take my cross off at times. When I did not think that I was adequately taking up my own cross in His name, I would remove the symbol of my Lord's burden. Then, I realized that that was inappropriate. Because of the two boards stained with His blood and scarred with the holes into which they drove the nails, I have been given a grace that means that though I fail repeatedly to live His example, He shall never forsake me. The times when I am unfaithful are the times I need that glint of silver most to greet me in the mirror. In its reflection are the rough boards, the dark stains, the holes that will never fade away. Now, with an even greater realization of my unworthiness to wear it, I never remove my cross.
And wouldn't a wooden cross be more fitting as a remembrance? Well, again, I am not so sure. Wood, hay and stubble will burn up in the fire, but the things done in the name of Jesus will be turned to silver and gold in His kingdom. I wonder what that device of torture and death that stood underneath a violent, black, mid-day sky two thousand years ago will look like on the other side, transformed to reflect His glory. I see no hypocrisy in a silver cross.
The last comfort I take in my little silver cross is this: Though I only see this symbol in the mirror every tenth time instead of my face, my Father in Heaven sees me 100% of the time through the blood that was shed upon the original. And if He can see me like that -- with mercy and grace and love (and I know what kind of sinner I am -- how black and deceitful my own heart can be even after twelve years) -- how it gives me impetus and strength to see the world through more compassionate eyes. Because of what is represented by this little silver cross, I am seen and can in turn see through the covering of Christ. And that is what I want more than anything in the world.