Even though there’s always more to understand in the Bible, sometimes I just need the simplicity of it to wake me up; for example, when I read the story of Jesus sending out the twelve disciples in Matthew 10:5+. Before He told them not to take any money or extra clothes with them, He said in verse 8, “Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.” I was arrested by that simple statement. You see, I needed to be reminded that I have not paid for the unconditional love that the Lord has lavished on me. I have not paid for His mercy that is new every morning. I have not paid for the complete forgiveness of all my sins – past, present, and future. No, I have not paid for any of these things, and do not deserve them in the least, but I have freely received them as He has freely given them to me.
When I was brought to that place of remembrance and the resulting flood of thankfulness, I was moved out of the place of withholding unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness from people who “didn’t deserve it,” right into the place of freely giving those things without expecting anything in return. It took me out of the position of trying to judge in God’s place and put me into the position of beloved child of God who leaves the judging to Him. In other words, it put me back into freedom!
Boy, do I need to be reminded of this lesson repeatedly. The only things Jesus wanted the disciples to take with them was what they had freely received, without pay. It’s His desire for us, as well. So, when you find yourself in my place, not wanting to forgive, walk in love, or give mercy, maybe you just need to remember one simple word . . . freely! Let it set you free once again, so you can help set others free.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free . . . Galatians 5:1