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Lent Photo-A-Day (February 10 – March 27, 2016)

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Day 18 — Burden

“Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32)
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I know I’m probably going to get into trouble with this one. But the fact of the matter is, that verse is not always true — in my opinion. Depends a whole lot on which set of Biblical mandates you’re espousing.

For a long, long time (and please understand this was my OWN faulty thinking and had NOTHING to do with the church we were attending) I was so caught up in trying to fulfill the commandments of Moses and the Old Testament (all 613 of them) that I became judge and jury to anyone who claimed to be a “Christian.” Not the least of which was myself. This is what my heart must have looked like:

angry-christian

My journals from that period in my life are so full of self-condemnation. In truth, I was far harder on myself than I was on others, than others were on me. Trying to live up to all those rules became such a burden to me I nearly walked away from any kind of faith years before the struggle I find myself locked in now.

It wasn’t until I read a book by a Quaker named Elton Trueblood, “Confronting Christ,” that I realized for the first time that Jesus had come to fulfill all those laws and commandments of the Old Testament, and that for me there were only TWO commandments I needed to keep track of. When asked what the most important one was, Jesus said:

“The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
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(Mark 12:29-31, The Message)
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It was at that point “religion” stopped being a burden for me. In fact, it was at that point I decided I didn’t want to BE religious anymore. I just wanted to love like Jesus did. I’m still learning to do that, especially with myself, but for me John 8:32 finally rings true. Loving others doesn’t come with a list of rules and regulations. It comes with an expandable heart! For others for sure, but also for ourselves.
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In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime
will matter as much as the way we have 
loved one another.
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Daphne Rose Kingma

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Picture Credit: joelkime.com

 

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