I hate getting off at the Happy Valley exit of the I-17. Regardless of what direction you come from there is a circle-round at the end of the exit ramp, and I don’t like circle-rounds. The dislike stems from an inner fear, though it has never happened, of getting caught in the inner lane and not being able to get out; around and around Kirby goes.
As we have studied through the book of Genesis I noticed that Adam’s children became caught up in sin. Take for example of sin of deception. We have seen deception play out now in four generation of Abraham’s family. In a sense Abraham’s family got caught in the circle-round of deception and it’s as if they were caught in the inner lane. With each generation the deception grew and it seemed as if there was no way to break the cycle.
Have you ever talked with a madman? I did once on a sales call. He was quite reasonable, but a man with only one point. Despite the topic of conversation it somehow always came back to his one topic; someone thirty years ago stole his invention, and despite the passage of time all he could talk about was his invention. G. K. Chesterton describes the madman in the following way, “He is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point.”
I use the example because many of us have had tragedies in our lives and rightly so they have changed us, but for some tragedies make us quite mad; we get stuck on them and there is no off ramp. Before you know it thirty years have gone by and we are still dwelling on the tragedy – anger, guilt, isolation, and self-abuse are some symptoms of being stuck.
This brings us back to the circle. Just as the circle represents the madman’s life, it also represents sin in our life because it is perfect and infinite. A circle can be large or small but it is with no ending or beginning, just around and around it goes, and people get stuck in their circles.
The cross of Jesus Christ is much different than a circle. It starts within a person’s heart and its four arms can extend out forever without altering its shape. It grows without changing. “The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers” G. K. Chesterton.
This is why the Christian always comes back to the cross. The cross pierces our circles in all directions. It shatters the circles we are stuck in and gives us life in abundance.