Second Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Hang Tough

Popular Translation

1 We have so many people around us to tell us about Jesus. So, let's put aside every burden and sin that sticks to us. Let's patiently run the course that lies before us. 2 Let's look to Jesus who started faith and will it whole in us. He joyfully put up with the shameful cross that was set before him. He now sits at the right of God's throne.

3 Think about Jesus, so you don't get sick and tired. He put up with everything sinners said against him. 4 After all, you haven't shed your blood in your fight against sin.

Literal Translation

1 So therefore, having such a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, having laid aside every burden and closely clinging sin, we also should run the contest before us with patience, 2 looking toward the pioneer and perfecter of faith, Jesus, who, in (that) place set before him, with joy endured the cross, disdained as shameful, and has sat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider such a (man) having endured (angry) words against himself by sinners, so that you might not become weary, your souls becoming weak.

4 You (have) not yet stood up, struggling against sin until (you shed your own) blood...

Why do we complain?

The author of Hebrews asked a simple question to his readers. Complaining is a universal hobby. It exists in every culture, in every time. But, why should Christians complain? Is the Christian lifestyle too difficult, even in the face of opposition and persecution?

Christians may have reason to complain, but compared to whom? The author pointed to the Savior, then asked the rhetorical question: Why do you complain? The Christian has a support group of fellow believers. So, he should put the past behind and run the race before them. More important, he should look to the Lord for inspiration. Jesus endured the shame-filled cross and the insults of the executions with joy. In the struggle against sin, a Christian will never be asked to shed his blood, like the Savior. So, why complain?

If one phrase could sum up the words of the author, it would be this: hang tough.

Complaining is a natural to the human condition. Sometimes you need to find someone to listen to your problems. Who listens to your struggles in life? How does the image of Christ on the cross encourage you, despite your problems? How does Jesus and your support system of friends help you through the tough times?