From a Crutch to the Cross
As men, we so often walk around leaning on a crutch, an outward sign of our broken inward condition, that it can become our identity if left unaddressed. In my early teens, I lost my dad to a tragic accident. After the accident, I began to carry it as my crutch and operate in two different worlds. I began a pattern of poor decisions by spending time with the wrong crowd and putting myself in the wrong places. But I also knew better and kept close with a group of friends in the “good crowd” – friends who attended church, loved me deeply and wanted the best for me. And if either crowd discovered me, I would just point to my crutch and they would understand.
In my late 20’s, I met a man who was all-in for Jesus and had a story to tell. He helped me realize how distorted my view of God was and how tired I had become from years leaning on my crutch. It was a game-changing moment. In more recent years, when I found myself in a cloud of depression, the same man reminded me of my true identity in Christ.
I don’t know what your crutch is but I can make a few guesses . . .
- If she weren’t so ______, then I wouldn’t have to stare at the computer screen or spend time with that girl at the office.
- If my dad hadn’t been ______, then I wouldn’t have to work so late or travel so much.
- If my boss didn’t ______, then I wouldn’t have to go behind his back.
- If my parents had been better at ______.
Your crutch doesn’t have to come from a place of pain either . . .
- Once I get this next promotion, then I will ______.
- After we get the new house, then we can ______.
If left unaddressed, over time our crutch becomes our identity. We begin to make our decisions through the distorted lens of our individual brokenness.
Think about about Nicodemus. He was well educated, had high social status and a position of power – those became his crutch. Why did he visit Jesus at night? Curiosity . . . who is this man making these claims? Shame . . . if anyone knew what I was doing? Desperation . . . I’m tired and out of options?
Or how about the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable? Limping home leaning on his crutch, preparing a laundry list of excuses and willing to accept any punishment because it was a better option than his current position. Only he found his dad running to greet him and celebrate his return.
In The Cure, John Lynch uses the analogy of the mask instead of the crutch. He says, “Daring to trust who Christ says I am, who He says He is in me, even when I feel I least deserve it and the old shame sweeps over me. This is the only way to keep the mask off to keep feeling the cool breeze on my face.”
What about you? Are you willing to face whatever crutch you’re leaning into and trade it in for the cross? Will it cost you something – friends, job, possessions? Probably. Will you gain something greater – love, acceptance, freedom? Absolutely.