Fast For Freedom Day 40 – Learning to Love Anew #IWFF
This season of lent, follow along with the Fast For Freedom. Participate by sharing, praying, fasting, or giving to raise awareness about global slavery. Download the 40 day devotional for free here. Share your own thoughts and prayers in the comments, and be challenged to take action in the movement for Freedom.
According to Scripture, love looks like Jesus crucified. Nothing else is more powerful, nothing else more loving than the sacrifice of Jesus. That love disregards feelings. That love is unconditional. That love expects nothing in return, and that love is always unconditional; it is agape love.
John 13:34-35: 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
At a anti-human trafficking committee meeting, we got off-topic from our agenda items, and started the discussion on what it means for individuals to “come to church,” and how often the Church fails to welcome them as they should be. I sat listening. But at one point, I blurted out, We talk so much about welcoming people in as “outsiders” when in fact we often don’t do a very good job of taking care of people, our brothers and sisters, right around us. How are we to love others who would be so different from ourselves?
Looking back, it really wasn’t off-topic at all, because at the crux of all that we say and do and think should be this agape love that is commanded by Christ. And in the work of anti-trafficking, we cannot go on without being fuelled by the example of love as shown to us.
And just tonight, I sat across the table from someone whom I am struggling to love with agape love. And realizing yet again, the significance of a home-cooked meal, of conversation of two souls, and just being fully present to this person. My mind wandered through my past year’s growth in learning to love in action, not just words.
Today’s devotional talks about the cost of Calvary love. This Easter weekend has been the most contemplative to date for me, as you may tell from my previous blog posts, but one that has been overflowing with mercy and presence.
Loving with “our sweat, tears, and blood” – to love sacrificially with our energy, our hearts, and our lives. I struggle with this so much, being someone who goes full out and gets burnt out. I have had to learn especially in 2011 when I was in Mexico, the significance of being good stewards of our bodies, of ourselves in every sense. I had to learn to say no. But in a deeper sense, I also realized that I was doing all these things and keeping busy for my own sake and to fulfill my own ambitions, insecurities, and other worldly pursuits.
You could say I am learning to love anew. Anew like the dew of morning that comes, slow and gentle. Anew like the veracity of a everflowing river. Anew like rain that covers us, no matter where we come from or who we are. Anew that does not know colour, language, culture, race; invisible lines drawn in the air that may separate you from I.
But to love out of my own brokenness and vulnerability, and choosing to open my heart wide, even when there isn’t any reciprocity. Choosing to step into pain, sorrow, and injustice of this often cruel and ugly world. Loving others as Jesus did means being willing to be hurt and to embrace walking the long mile with others, not to just be a spectator to it.
Perhaps the one thing we can do, if nothing else, is that each person is His child who has value and potential, and deserves respect and dignity. Let us be the ones to be known to walk into the dark, gritty, and unclean and be a light, not hidden under something but as shining out from a hill.
I am guilty of falling short. Yet I know I am still in the process of being changed and humbled in that. Picking up my cross is a daily act that begins before Him, and I learn anew everyday what it means to love as He does.
May our radical and transformational love be our witness to the world.
The Scripture says we are salt to the earth (Matt 5:13); the flavor of that salt is Calvary love. Without it, we are good for nothing.
May we not simply sit back and observe, but fully engage with and grapple with what is in front of us.
Tomorrow, we will say, Christ is Risen!, but let us live in the power of His resurrection, to follow in His footsteps and to bring the joy and hope and love of new life into the lives of others.
I hope this post encouraged and challenged you.
The Fast For Freedom may technically be over, but I pray that this is just one more step for you towards living a life full of ‘calvary love’ and committed to the pursuit of freedom.
Read more from Jenny on her blog here //