Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Paying for your identity

I was listening to NPR's Day to Day program. There was a story about a Cuban exile who had been accused of rape. He escaped from custody and was on the run for over 10 years. While on the run he would take the identity of other people to get work or otherwise provide for himself. The catch was that some of these folks had outstanding warrants or were on the run themselves. If the law ever caught up with this guy, he would do the time for the other person's crime. 30 days for a petty crime or time for rape - which would you rather do?

Anyway, he is eventually discovered and faced the punishment for the original charges. Come to find out, the guy was innocent of the rape charge. The court released AND didn't press charges for the original escape. BUT he is still in custody facing the original charges for the crimes of all the people of whom he assumed their identity.

That got me wondering. How like our lives in Christ. Our sin before God is forgiven and the punishment is waved when God justifies us in Christ. But then we are to assume the identity of Christ and all of the "crimes" he exemplified in his life. We are called to challenge the status quo, care for the downtrodden, live as strangers and aliens in a foreign and sometimes hostile land. Christ said some will receive his fate.

I don't doubt that with the right attorneys and enough proof, this guy will be cleared. He may be sent back to Cuba. But I doubt he will face punishment for these original crimes.

But I hope that I have the integrity to face up to the new identity I have chosen. I want my life to be identified with the one I have taken on, Christ Jesus. And if I face his fate, may I face it with the grace and dignity with which he went before.
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