A History Major’s Rant

This semester, as I engage with the texts of the past, I’ve been struggling on an emotional level with the material I’ve been reading for courses.

It is so hard to be so steeped in humanity’s failures, to see the death and dying, to see the fighting and the drinking and the drugs effect so many people’s lives. It’s hard to read about the destruction of the earth and other people so someone could make a quick buck. It’s hard to read about people dying brutal, bloody deaths, inflicted by other people. It’s hard to read about the injustices committed because of race, or gender, or people group. It’s hard to see the broken Imago Dei in the past, without looking away.

People come to my major because they think that History is an easy “A.” They think it’s about memorizing facts, names, dates. That’s not what it’s about, and I’m reminded of that every semester. It’s easy to lose sight of the people behind those names and dates, the ones who made this world we’re in now what it is.

Some days, I just want to find peace, love, joy. I long for a restoration from this broken reality. That’s the hope of Christ, and I can’t imagine doing my job without it. I don’t think I could do my job without it.

All of this is to say, it’s easy to say that hurtful thing. I know, I’ve done it repeatedly. But hurt people hurt people. In five words, that’s my summary of history. Guys, I’ve come to treasure those moments where people show kindness, no matter how small. It’s not the stuff that’s often remembered in history texts, and it seems like it’s far outweighed at the time. But it’s the stuff that makes us human. It’s the stuff that keeps us going. We can’t keep on like this. If we profess to be image bearers, then aren’t we called to reflect the goodness that God is? Even a little light can be bright in the darkness.

There’s blood on my hands….

I am Lady MacBeth. I have done the most heinous thing. I have murdered the king.

What am I talking about? Why do I make these outrageous claims? There’s no king here in America, is there?   Not in the strictest terms. Legally, I’m not a murderess. But in my heart, in my broken sinful condition, I HAVE killed someone.   I killed my savior, my lover. I killed Jesus. I drove those nails through his hands and feet. I put that spear in his side. I made that crown of thorns. I held him to the cross, more so than any nails ever could have.

Now I’m sure you think that I’m insane. How could I, someone born almost 2,000 years after Jesus lived, died, and rose again have possibly been the one to do all of this?

Like I said before, it was my sin that held him to the cross. He knew what he was doing, and he chose to do this for me. He loved, and still loves, me, and yet I have repaid him with death.

I came to this realization at camp two years ago, when the director of the camp impersonated one of the guards who stood by Jesus side. Before this I had heard the Easter story every year, and sometimes even two or three times, depending on what Bible activities I was doing that year. I knew it well, but it had never sunk in.

So why this one time? I believe it is because I’ve finally begun to grow, finally begun to understand, and choose to follow Jesus. It seems that, no matter how many activities the youth programs do to try to bring Christianity to kids, you can’t bring it to them. You can’t force it down their throats. It’s their choice, and no matter how much you’d like them to choose like you, it must be from their hearts.

One of the aforementioned activities that two or three of my Bible clubs and camps was something designed to make me realize that it was my sins that held him there, and that I was forgiven, was nailing my sins (written on a scrap of paper) to a wooden cross. The first time I did that, it left no impression on me. The second time it was similar to the first. The only thing- this time the lesson caught up to me two years later.

That cross is still up in the rafters at the camp that had me do that. That cross is my reminder. It’s my reminder that I have blood on my hands, but also that I am forgiven. Jesus did die. He didn’t have to stay. Like the devil said when tempting Jesus, God ‘will command his angels concerning you’.

Through the blood on my hands, the blood of the king, I am forgiven of everything. I have taken Jesus as my Lord and Savior, in words many years ago, and in my life more recently. He’s not done working on me yet. He’s taken my hands and scrubbed them cleaner than they’ve ever been before. He’s taking all that blood from my hands. He’s given me the ultimate soap to wash it off, better than Lady MacBeth ever could.