Dance with the Fat Girl


Freedom.

Celebrated it yesterday with great fanfare and fireworks.

Having been born in America in the sixties, I’ve known nothing but.

Having been born, again, in the sixties, I also know the complete freedom that comes through knowing Jesus Christ.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Some of my brothers and sisters in the church, though, seem to only know a partial freedom in Christ. They know the “freedom from” –

Freedom from hell, freedom from eternal damnation, freedom from sin, freedom from spiritual oppression, freedom from fallen self.

Knowing “freedom from” is essential, powerful and necessary but it isn’t the whole gospel.

When Jesus sets us free, we are not only free “from”, we are also “free to”-

Free to love those who are unlovable, free to forgive, free to take risks to help build the kingdom of Christ, free to live as though our actions have eternal consequence, free to put others’ needs before our own.

“Free to” is a vital freedom for believers to exercise.

I used to explain it to my high schoolers this way:

“You don’t do drugs, have sex or drink. That’s commendable. It’s good to be free from these forbidden indulgences when you are in high school but that’s not your entire calling in Christ. You are also “free to”.

“Free to –what?” They would ask.

“Free to take risks. Free to reach out to those who are unloved around you. Look around your high school at those who are marginalized, excluded, ridiculed and alone. Jesus has set you free to befriend them. You are free to dance with the fat girls.”

That’s radical faith. Ask the fat girl to dance. Include the boy with acne in your crowd. Invite the socially awkward co-worker out for lunch. Offer to have tea with your elderly neighbor and listen to her stories – again.

I’ve known Christians who exercised their “freedom to” by welcoming a homeless family into their home, taking in unwanted children with severe disabilities, leaving everyone they knew to live in Africa and write down an unwritten language, inviting all their friends into their home for a party and a message about Jesus, leaving a high-paying job to serve among the needy or risking their personal safety to run children’s Bible studies in dangerous neighborhoods.

These brothers and sisters taught me that the freedom of Christ is more than freedom “from”; it is also freedom “to”.

Just like our American legal freedom, our spiritual freedom was hard won in a battle to the death. Blood was shed for this freedom. This freedom came at the ultimate price and is offered to us as a gift.

And now I ask you – as I ask myself:

What are you doing with your freedom?

Now that you are freed “from”

What is it that YOU are freed “to”?

Today, celebrate your freedom by exercising it.

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments