Freedom to Love

Christ’s love frees us from hate.

I heard these words at a recent Sunday service and they instantly struck me. While simple, this truth gives me so much hope.

This week, as a country we remembered the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. While this day always fills me with so much pride for the USA, overwhelming gratitude for our men and women in uniform, and sorrow for those lost, this year I feel something new – a sadness for the hatred that exists in our world.

I was in 4th grade in 2001 and can recall that day so vividly. My grandma took my sister and I out for ice cream, and recounted the day’s tragedies very carefully and cautiously. I remember reasoning to myself (with my elementary mind) that there would never be as much hate in the world as there was on that day.

Fast forward 15 years, and hate has become commonplace. Hatred has been rearing its head everywhere—even our workplaces, schools, and churches. That said, I now realize just how much people need love, and how immeasurably thankful I am Christ has given us His love freely.

A video surfaced this week on social media that I feel too important not to share. Starbucks (of all brands) has a new campaign called Upstanders, a series of stories focusing on “ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities.” While each video showcases some truly wonderful acts of kindness and love, one story, “The Mosque Across the Street” moved me to tears.

It’s the story of a mosque that buys land right next to a Christian church and the friendship that develops between the two completely different congregations. The video also addresses the heart issues the members of the Christian church work through when they receive some backlash from some church membership.

While this is just a small clip, and just one community’s story, it exemplifies that love looks beyond differences. For me, it’s a reminder that our hearts should be open, always.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
— Ephesians 5:2