When the high road hurts

Sometimes the high road hurts, doesn’t it? When I officiate weddings, I often insert a little phrase near the end of my remarks, urging the excited couple to “Live on the high road even when it hurts.”

The high road is a glorious road. It is the noble path of a generous, forgiving soul. It is the more loving, expansive way to live, but it is also quite costly. It hurts to take the high road when it doesn’t seem fair. When we are asked to walk the higher path of forgiveness, or choose to look the other way, or extend the benefit of the doubt, or live without closure it can feel very wounding and debilitating. We can feel mocked by the sting of injustice, and in those painful times, it can be lifesaving to remember that Jesus walked the high road first.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus was crucified on a hill. He literally died on the high road. His walk to the cross took Him up to a high place where He gave His life away for the sins and the healing of the world, and from that elevated place, He made the most remarkable statement. He said, “ Father, forgive them (the very ones who were crucifying Him) for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Statements like that can only be made from the high road. Perspectives like that can only be gained from a loftier view of life.

Embracing the high road does not mean that we will never experience justice or reconciliation, but it does mean that we choose to do what is right even if we never receive those things. And when we choose to live that way—eschewing bitterness and unforgiveness—something beautiful happens to us. Our souls get bigger. Our hearts grow softer. Our love reaches further. We get enveloped with the power of a clean conscience, the beauty of an expansive soul, and a grace that is only developed in the dark. 

When people walk the high road they discover that the very act of journeying there is an act of sowing. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). When we travel the high road for others we position ourselves to receive God’s high road mercy and grace for ourselves. In a loud and angry world, we need more people that are willing to walk this higher path. Let’s be those people.

If you are in this place today, weeping as you walk, hold steady. Jesus walked this path before you and He will walk it again with you.

4 thoughts on “When the high road hurts

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