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Love Holds The Key To Freedom

Love Holds The Key To Freedom

Posted by Kenny Vaughan on 18th May 2020

Excerpts from “The Right Fight: How to Live a Loving Life” by John Kennedy Vaughan

Emotions are running high with the pressures on so many levels of this pandemic: emotions in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities. Just going to the grocery story can bring out the fear and anger in all of us. Bedlam on grocery aisle four can break out at any time!

“Nothing has ever deceived me more than my own feelings."

“I have learned that if my feelings don’t align with God’s word and the truth, I should do my best to completely ignore those feelings. If they are based upon a lie, then it is better not to react to them and to let the truth replace the lie and soothe any distress I may be feeling. That’s very hard to do, because feelings are strong and real.

“If feelings rule our lives, then fear will dominate and drive us. That happens not because of the feelings themselves but because we allow the feelings to determine the choices we make and the actions we take.

“The choices we make and the actions we take truly do end up ruling our lives. This is not to say that we are doomed to be defined by bad choices we have made in the past that we may regret now. There is always repentance and the choice to make different decisions tomorrow, though our past histories may or may not continue to have consequences.

“I mean that the choices we make today and those we will make tomorrow determine tomorrow’s destiny. We know that we have feelings and make decisions and choices every day, from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. The trap of life is allowing our feelings to determine our decisions, giving in to a life ruled by fear.

“Love holds the key to freedom from this trap or prison. Love acts without regard for feelings, and, many times, even contrary to the misleading emotions we may be feeling. The good news is that when love rules our lives, feelings follow and make a turn from the negative to the positive. If we can allow love to rule in our lives, feelings take a back seat, except for the joy we find in the courage to love and the difference that makes in the lives of others and ourselves.

“Let me give you an example. One evening, Tammie and I had decided to stop at Jack in the Box for a burger. Tammie sat down, and I was waiting to order. The young man in front of me was ordering and acted like he was possibly a leader of a local gang. It crossed my mind to give him the Shield of Strength off my neck, so I was trying to think of a way to start a conversation with someone not so interested in talking. He ordered a Sourdough Jack. Because I had always wondered how those sourdough buns tasted, I decided to ask him.

“I said, ‘Hey man, how is that sourdough bun?’ He glanced my way as if to say, ‘I know you didn’t just say something to me,’ and then turned back around. My feelings had me wanting to say, ‘What the heck was that, man? I am trying to help you, and you punk me.’

“But I just sat there for a second. I had seen a lot by this time after giving away thousands of Shields of Strength and had gotten pretty bold when it came to loving, so I decided to ask him again. Again, I asked, ‘Hey man, how is that sourdough bun on that Sourdough Jack?’ About this time, the lady taking our orders had walked back up to the counter. In front of this lady, he responded by turning around and looking at me. ‘I don’t know, fool!’ he said.

“His hostility made me feel defensive. The first thought that ran through every fiber of my being was to say, ‘Well, pal, let’s figure out who the fool is. Freaking punk.’ Instead, I fought off the feelings and said nothing. This kind of interaction is extremely tough for me because I was raised a fighter. I would sometimes rather fight than argue.

…“I ordered our food and watched him sit down and eat with his buddy, who looked angrier then he did. As we ate, I told Tammie what had just happened and pointed them out to her. We all finished eating at about the same time and walked out right behind them. We got in my truck, and I noticed they had probably walked to the restaurant. There was no housing close by, so I knew they had walked a while. Then I told Tammie I was going to try one more time. I grabbed four Shields of Strength, two for each of them, and ran them down as they were leaving the parking lot.

“Tammie didn’t want me to go, afraid that I would get hurt, but I figured I could outrun them both. I’m not the fastest guy on the planet, but I tend to think I am, and I figured that running for my life from these two guys, if I had to, would make me a little faster. When I approached them, they seemed caught off guard.

“I immediately began speaking and said as humbly as I could, ‘Hey, can I give y’all something? These are some things I make with a few of my favorite scriptures on them. These scriptures have helped me through things I wouldn’t have found my way through without them.’ I was looking at the chains as I put the dog tags on them, assuming they would take the necklaces but watching out of the corner of my eye for them to react in fear or more anger.

“They didn’t say anything, but their body language said they would like to have them. I handed them the Shields of Strength, and as I turned to walk away, one of them said in a kind voice, ‘Who are you?’ It was as if he were really asking, ‘Why would you do such a thing for someone like us?’ His wall of fear and projected strength had just shattered into a million pieces, and he stood before me in the truth of who he really was.

“I told him my name and that I was someone who had spent most of his life living in fear, until God’s Word helped me see the truth. I prayed it would do the same for him. Before I left, I said, ‘Trust God’s Word no matter what, and I pray His peace will always keep you.’

“As I walked away, I realized that what could have been one of my worst experiences in sharing Shields of Strength had just become one I would never forget. I realized that my initial response to their anger was responding to a lie with a lie. Their lie was who they were pretending to be. If I had acted according to my feelings, I would have been reacting with a lie of who I was.

“The truth was that we were all vulnerable, and we were all afraid. I left more committed than ever to no longer live a fearful, fake life but instead to seek the truth at all costs for the sake of others, even if it cost me everything.

“It takes great courage to act based on love when our feelings so desperately tempt us to do something different, at least at first. But if you live out courage long enough to experience the freedom and fruit of a loving life, the courage becomes natural, and you become more afraid of being selfish than of being selfless. Once love rules your life, you realize you don’t want to go back to the old, fearful behavior. Once you see your willingness to love at all costs making a difference in someone else’s life, loving becomes easier. Not to say it is ever easy, but who needs easy when we’ve got Jesus?”

Laus Deo,