Whenever there is hardship in life, one of the best ways Christians deal with it is by finding honor in the hardship and by taking up our crosses proudly like Jesus did. After all, Christians always try to emulate Jesus as much as they can. For example, when part of my rib was removed after cancer was found in my abdomen, one of the things that got me through the whole cancer experience was wearing my new scar and deformity as a badge of honor. After all, wasn't Jesus speared in the ribs when he was still on the cross? Did he not bear a similar wound? The rib is also mentioned in other parts of the bible such as in Genesis when God takes a rib from Adam to make Eve. Perhaps removing my rib was creating something wonderful and powerful in my life.
The situation that I am currently trying to transmute is the whole experience of witnessing the scapegoating of others as well as being scapegoated myself. I find great peace in the book of Leviticus where the bible speaks of the scapegoat needing to be innocent in order to atone for the sins of the people that are sacrificing it. I realize that this annual ritual on the day of atonement ended, for Christians, when Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. But there were 2 scapegoats in Jewish tradition, one that was sacrificed and perished and one living scapegoat that was shunned from the community and took away the impurities and sins of the people to the wilderness. The high priest would place his hands on the heads of the goats and symbolically transfer the sins of the people onto the goats. Together the goat sacrificed and the living scapegoat showed that the goats were substituted for the people and that they bore the penalty of sin.
While I do believe that Jesus was both the sacrificed scapegoat and the shunned scapegoat whose spirit lives on, I believe that Christians too and anyone for that matter can be a scapegoat as Jesus was. So if you have been shunned, excommunicated, or scapegoated in anyway, think of it as a honor as you are following the footsteps of Jesus, and performing a great service to your community by expunging its sins.