“Freedom flourishes when it is tethered to the holy constraints of love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 29, 2022
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38-39, ESV
Relationships are a dynamic and ever-evolving reality. Why? Because we as human beings are always growing and changing. Who you were a year ago is in many ways consistent with who you are today, and yet in many ways the experiences of the past year have expanded, shaped, and then reshaped your understanding of the world and how you relate to people in it, including your most intimate relationships. We thrive as humans when we learn to celebrate this dynamic reality and create space for people to grow and develop within relationships of trust and mutual love.
That said, freedom does not mean the absence of any or all constraint. In fact, freedom flourishes when it is tethered to the holy constraints of love. If to love is to will the good of another, as St. Thomas Aquinas famously said, love will by necessity accept the limitations of love in order to set another free. A wife is free to be vulnerable and transparent in love, knowing her husband has pledged himself to her and no other. A child is free to discover the world in all its beauty and wonder when they are given the safety and security of a loving home. And an elderly parent is set free from worry as they receive the love of a child who accepts with joy the sacrificial role of caregiver.
While this is true of every loving earthly relationship, it is all the more true of our life with Christ and the Lord’s unfailing love for us. As St. Peter reminds us in Acts 2, the promises of God are “for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39). The promises of God are not fleeting nor limited in their scope. The mission of Jesus was humble and overlooked by the elite of his day, yet its power extended to the whole world, and reaches forward in time to you and me this very day.
The Lord calls humanity to himself by entering into the mess of our world in order to make it whole. Jesus models for us the true nature of love, one that pledges itself to the beloved. Even when they are distant and fail to respond to his love, his promise is true and always before us: lay down your quest for absolute autonomy and instead receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and learn to walk within the liberating constraints of love.
Father, teach us the freedom that is found in walking in your ways and living by your promise, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways do you need to repent of your rejection of love’s constraints, both in your earthly relationships and in your life with Christ?
Robbie Seay Band: Psalm 66 (You Are Great)
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