Rejection & humiliation

One of my greatest fears in this life is embarrassment.

Not just the embarrassment that comes with accidentally wearing your shirt backward or stumbling while you speak.

The kind of embarrassment I dread the most is the kind that happens after people hurt you. There is almost nothing worse than having all eyes on you as your face heats up with humiliation and your stomach churns with an ugly mix of hurt and defiance.

Whether it’s a breakup or a backstab, there is nothing worse than the humiliation you feel when someone hurts you. You know everyone is looking at you, feeling both pity and discomfort at your pain. This embarrassment, heaped on top of the hurt itself, is enough to make you never want to leave your bed.

I have experienced much of this hurt and humiliation in my life, enough to make me wonder if anyone would ever understand the crushing weight of this pain.

Then I was reminded:

Jesus left heaven for us. He left the right hand of God, a spot where angels continually proclaimed his glory, to spend years on Earth serving and saving the people around him. He loved the people around him unconditionally and without judgment. He healed their diseases, lifted the lowly and brought hope to the hopeless.

And then they decided he should die.

It’s easy to blame Judas or the Pharisees or even Pilate for Jesus’ crucifixion. After all, Judas betrayed Jesus in the first place. The Pharisees and the religious hated Jesus’ upheaval of their perfectly calculated system of laws.

But, if you read the story of Pilate’s delivery of Jesus to crucifixion, you’ll see who’s really responsible:

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

(Matthew 27:22-26)

This wasn’t just the fault of Judas, the priests or the government. Jesus’ own people, the people he served and loved and healed, rejected him. They mocked him and beat him for all to see that day as John 1:11 came true (He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.)

And I thought my humiliation was bad.

“Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God.” (Bruce Shelley)

But Jesus didn’t crawl into bed after he was humiliated. He didn’t complain about being hurt by his own, the people he had served for all those years.

He went to the cross and died to forgive them.

And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)