I have not always been the kindest person. I can be stubborn and cold at times. I have not always been the best believer and have, on occasion, raised my hands to the Lord not in praise but in anger and frustration. I have disregarded those whom I should have reached out to and judged unworthy those who would not believe then slammed the door in their face, considering them unreachable and unworthy. I have been the one wallowing in self-pity one day, then standing on the podium of pride the next. It has been in me since birth to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate people and events to ensure a better outcome for myself and no one else. I have hurled insults at those who mean me no harm and lent a cold shoulder to others who would have shown me love, had I let them. I have taken what belonged to someone else and called it mine, without remorse – without regret.
The thieves on the crosses were both what I have just described above, and more. They were sinners caught by the cords of justice and hanging on trial alongside one who was willing to take their sin and pardon their souls if they would only choose to believe. They knew the physical pain and agony he was in. They had no doubt heard of the events of the week leading up to this man being placed between them. Jesus is there at the center of a tug-of-war waged between life and death…he was right there hanging between them with his love radiating farther than his arms could reach. The offer was available to each of the thieves but only one chose life. Only one chose to spend eternity in paradise. Only one believed.
We are all thieves on crosses. We have all fallen short and none of us is righteous…not one. We are all deserving of death yet offered life. There is no way around it: we either plead, “Remember me…” or scoff, “Save yourself…if you can!”
We are either pleading with or scoffing at the man in the middle…Good Lord, may I daily be the one pleading.