This is Part Two in my small series on charity. In installment 1 I provided a definition of “charity” from Webster. Charity is used in the King James as a word for love. As we practice charity a beautiful thing begins to happen in our own lives: emancipation.
EMANCIPA’TION, n. The act of setting free from slavery, servitude, subjection or dependence; deliverance from bondage or controlling influence; liberation; as the emancipation of slaves by their proprietors; the emancipation of a son among the Romans; the emancipation of a person from prejudices, or from a servile subjection to authority.Webster’s 1828
We are free from fleshly desires. Setting aside our desires is difficult. Maybe a reason bigger than ourselves helps us do that.
We are free from sin’s hold. When we love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves, as the two Great Commandments say, there is little room for sin in our own lives.
For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8 KJV
We are free from trappings of the world. Be warned: charity can cause a loss of personal possessions. Stuff is not as important as people. Meeting the needs of others is important, even if it means meeting them with your own stuff. People know love by meeting basic needs first.
Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.Deut 15:10-11 The Message
Seeing others through the lenses of charity we are free to see others for who they are (Webster notes freedom from prejudices). And we are free to do the same for ourselves. But most of all we get a new perspective on who God is. If we can be charitable, how much more charitable is He? (see John 3:16) We stop picking and choosing who we will help. We seek out the unlovely—in all forms—because that’s where the hurt is.
Add…to brotherly kindness charity.2 Peter 1:7 KJV
We are free to hope. It’s wonderful to have the hope you give others offered to you in return. When you see freedom in action you cannot help but be filled with hope.
For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.Galatians 5:14 The Message
I am not saying that we love so we can get something. These are simply a sacred by-product of charity. God set it up that way and I’m so glad He did. It’s beautifully summed up in this passage:
Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.Luke 6:31b-38 The Message