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

Day 18 — Burden

“Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32)

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:


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.”
(Mark 12:29-31, The Message)

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.

In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime
will matter as much as the way we have 
loved one another.
Daphne Rose Kingma


Picture Credit: joelkime.com