Sacrificial Love

I recently watched “Frozen”. (Spoiler alert – stop reading if you haven’t seen this wonderful film.) At the end, we and the little sister in the story learn that the act of true love that will save her, and her sister, and the kingdom, is her own act of sacrificing her life for the love of another. As she throws herself into the line of fire of the arrow aimed at her sister, knowing at that moment she will die, she only is thinking about her love for her sister which surpasses her love for herself. And yet, she comes back to life. Her sister is so transformed by seeing such an act of sacrificial love that from that point forward she lives a life loving others, ruling her kingdom motivated by loving her subjects, totally changing the place from one of fear and coldness to a place of joy.

Well, it is a Disney film. The model of sacrificial love was right on point even if the fairy tale ending in real life hasn’t quite happened yet. . .

This week I also ran across a very powerful video of a group of Holocaust survivors championing this year’s “We remember” campaign. The message was not just about remembering the Holocaust, but also about remembering those suffering at the hands of tyranny throughout the world – Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, and Syria. The goal is to reach 6 million people to stop hatred and racism of all people, to raise awareness of the need in this world for love.

The concept of sacrificing animals and harvests to HaShem in loving awe of Him is part of our story from the beginning. Our Abba deepens our understanding of sacrificial love as He walks Abraham through the requested killing of Isaac, the foreshadowing of the Father/Son sacrifice to come. He later brings the point home through the ultimate act of selfless love in the giving of Yeshua to us, and in Yeshua’s love of humanity through His giving of His life for mankind. The model for our behavior was provided in human terms we could understand.

Most mothers and fathers will actually die for or in place of their children, as Yeshua did for us, as did the little sister in “Frozen”. And those affected by the Holocaust, and other such crimes against humanity, in a way take the hit for those who come after or who survive, who can learn from these horrors. It is not uncommon for those most closely touched by hatred, even violence, to advocate love which to us sometimes seems counterintuitive. How could the families of those gunned down in a church speak of love? Perhaps because those pierced to the heart by such hatred understand it can only be defeated by love, not by loving the act, but rather, by trying to change the heart of the perpetrator, and future perpetrators, and the societies that foster such hatred. Acts of love, especially in an unloving setting, are more disarming than a loaded gun.

Thankfully, most often when a person sacrificially loves, he or she does not have to die to prove the point. Rather, if our mindset is putting the other first above our needs (in a healthy way, of course), our lives together, and societies generally, would be places ultimately of joy. A relationship that may be dying can actually be reborn when one thinks of the needs of the other ahead of his or her own. If both have healthy self esteems the result can only be one of amazing mutual love. If that model influenced our interactions with others in our lives as well, and encouraged our kindnesses to those less advantaged, the ripple effect in our world could begin to approach that Disney ending.

May this week be one with many opportunities for you to give, and receive, the sacrificial love brought to us by Yeshua.

Shabbat shalom.

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