Editor's Note: For Lent this year I made an interactive art project which helps the viewer engage in the forgiving process. What follows are the instructions and visual of the art piece.
When someone hurts us, it is natural for us to want to retaliate. It is natural for us to want to hurt them back. When we retaliate, instead of only taking an “eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth” and satisfying justice, revenge escalates the injury of insults to an ever increasing cost of life. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) God encourages us to give him our desire for revenge so that he can exact his justice. On the cross Jesus opens his arms wide to receive the wrath we have for the sin others have done to us.
We are invited to place our wrath and desire for justice on Christ instead of the person who has offended him by throwing stones at the figure. The stones are provided because stoning was an Old Testament way the community exacted the justice of the death penalty (Dt 13:5, Dt 17:5) By throwing stones, we recognize how our desire for revenge ultimately leads to death. Notice how when the stone hits the figure it falls down rather than bouncing back. Through his death Jesus absorbs all our wrath. Instead of returning evil for evil, Jesus bears all sin in his body, allowing it to die with him and thus defeats evil.
Sometimes the sin in this world causes us to feel hurt and shame. We are invited to surrender our hurt and shame by taking a pin and a label and writing on the label our hurt or shame. Remove the label from the backing and wrap it around the pin to create a white flag of surrender or peace. Take the white flag and place it in the figure, remembering Isaiah 53: 5;
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.The punishment that we feel in the form of hurt and shame is now put upon Jesus through his being pierced. When we surrender our hurt and shame to Jesus, we can find healing and peace with God.
), he/she knows not what they are doing.” Notice the light from heaven reflecting off of the cross and onto your body. When you surrender your life to Jesus Christ, he is reflected onto and through you. You become like Jesus of whom the Father said, “This is my child in whom I am well pleased.”