A Love at Bay
As I sat behind home plate watching my eight-year-old swing at a wild pitch, my heart was suffocating in my sin. I didn’t want to be at his baseball game, and my struggle to love my little boy showed in my disdain. I had lost interest in something that usually draws great passion. I love baseball; I love to watch my boy play; but that day my heart convinced me that he didn’t need my love. It told me that if I held him at bay, then I wouldn’t be hurt by him again.
And when the coach called for me to check on my boy’s loose retainer my heart overflowed out of my mouth, “What NOW?”
The attitude that I had worked so hard to hide was now exposed.
The Fear of Grace
The truth is that my love is not perfect; my love withholds grace. I want to keep others within the clutches of the law because then I feel safe. But God’s word tells me that this is not freedom. Christ died so that I would be free to love others without fear. Yet I continue to fear grace because:
- Grace is not safe; it requires me to be vulnerable and to give up my grudges.
- Grace doesn’t make sense when I want justice.
- Grace tells me to forgive when I’ve been hurt and no forgiveness is sought.
- Grace says “love” when there is no love in return.
Guilt and Love
And then the guilt comes. It wrecks me. My heart cries for repentance. It cries for freedom through forgiveness. The little boy that I lacked grace and love for is hit in the head with a baseball, falling to his knees in the outfield. How could I be so unloving? How could I allow myself to withhold what God has lavished me in? I jump from my seat and run to see if he’s ok.
You see, my love for others is not like my Father’s love for me. Not even close. My love lacks in grace. It often requires payment. But because Christ loved perfectly, I can love freely. Christ’s record of untainted love is now my record. I don’t have to earn my way to completeness by loving those around me, and knowing that to be true motivates my heart to love
Freedom is More Than Bibles and Baseball
Nothing says America more than baseball and freedom. But just as America is more than baseball, freedom is more than having a Bible in every room. It’s more than being able to worship publicly or to start the little league pledge with “I love my God.”
- Freedom is knowing that because of Christ you are perfectly loved when you love imperfectly.
- Freedom is knowing that because of Christ you are perfectly forgiven when you forgive imperfectly.
- Freedom is knowing that because of Christ you are perfectly righteous although you are imperfect.
And when we are free, truly free, we long to walk with Him because we aren’t afraid that we’re not doing it right. We long to obey out of the celebration of our freedom. We long to love others with the same love that He has shown us. And in all of this we celebrate knowing that Christ died to set us free.
For Your Reflection:
How will you celebrate your freedom today?