Popular belief today and even back in Jesus’ day was that loving people or things or animals meant making sacrifices for them. People say they love their dog so they sacrifice chicken or beef or other meats to them. Is this really love? A dog will eat anything, why are you killing another animal to feed an animal?
In Jesus’ day people were still sacrificing animals on the altar as an atonement for their sins. They sinned, willfully, then would offer up an animal they killed because of their sin. The deed inherently made no sense. It was meant to show them how stupid, senseless and costly it is to sin.
When Jesus came. He abolished all sacrifices and became the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. He rose again three days later because God cannot die. Although He never sinned, He was crucified as if He did. There was no reason to crucify Jesus except that mankind wanted to be punished for their sins, although they blamed the sins on God and ultimately made Him suffer. God suffered because people believed Him to be sinful in requiring sacrifices from them because all things come from God and God is He who ultimately provides the animal to sacrifice. They thought it unfair that God would place them in His sacrifice chain and instead of making it easier on themselves and obeying Him, they tried to kill Him. They thought to themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours” (Mark 12:7 NIV).
As an aside, God is neither male nor female, but the great I AM. I use the pronoun “He” because it is more acceptable to modern day people. Masculinity does not depict God in any form. To be masculine is to be a taker. God is a giver.
People extend the idea that sacrifice equals love into many realms. For instance, marriage is an institution that requires sacrifice. If you are a homosexual in our culture, it requires a big sacrifice. If you are heterosexual, the sacrifice you make in sharing your assets, raising your children (if you have them), living together and even making love are significant. If you’re a woman, it might mean uncomfortable and inconvenient sex and therefore, children. God doesn’t require us to have children to be saved. God doesn’t require us to be married (homosexuals or heterosexuals) to be saved. The requirement for salvation is simple: faith and obedience in your walk with Christ. Both of these things are gifts. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
You’ll notice I said walk because walk indicates that there is no struggle and thus no sacrifice required from you. Jesus came to “give life to the full” not to restrict it. The devil comes to “steal, kill and destroy,” (John 10:10 NIV). If this sounds like your partner, walk away. Why suffer? To stay is only concession that your sacrifice can save them. Only their choices can save them. Only they can choose to follow Jesus. Don’t make yourself suffer, especially if they are physically or verbally abusive or racking up debt. Romans 13:8 (NIV) states, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
I can’t tell you how many churches will encourage women to make sacrifices for their “man” that he wouldn’t make for them in a million years. That is not love. Love your neighbor as you would yourself also means love yourself and don’t stay with someone who is hurting you. If you have kids together you might consider getting out of debt and finding a way to work from home so that you can be free.
Don’t remarry though. Jesus said in Matthew 5:32 (NIV), “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” You’ve already seen that marriage is about sacrifice and suffering. It is a union of egos for the destruction of the soul. Stay away from that because you know God “desires mercy not sacrifice.” In Hosea 6:6 (NIV), God says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” God especially desires that you be merciful toward yourself because unless you are whole you cannot give to anyone else. Unless you are out of debt you cannot give. Unless you are free from sin and guilt you cannot live. Which is why Jesus came. If God does desire love but not sacrifice, love must not be sacrifice.
If you don’t have any money and are afraid to leave an abuser, remember that Jesus said to sell your possessions and give to the poor. If you are the poor, become a minimalist and sell what you don’t need and use the money to live off.
Eat things that don’t suffer when they die, like fish, who die from not being able to breathe out of water. Jesus ate fish. You need a good protein source. Don’t eat meat because God commanded in Exodus 20:13 (NIV), “Do not murder.” The Kingdom of Heaven is here now. Start acting like it.
Dogs and cats can eat fish and peanut butter as a protein source and will live longer with little to no disease. Also eat vegetables and drink cold refreshing water. They taste good and are good for you.
Sugar kills. Once you stop eating it you will no longer like it when it’s reintroduced into your diet. Your teeth will feel and look better.
These things cost very little and you’ll find that your grocery bill goes way down. Also you will lose weight and feel healthier once you start eating them. You don’t need a diet. You don’t need to sacrifice to lose weight just enjoy healthier foods.
Isaiah 54:5 (NIV) says, “For your Maker is your husband— the Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”
His description of love is this (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV),
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
To sacrifice indicates that you are making yourself less whole to complete another. Therefore in not loving yourself and making a sacrifice you are not able to love another because you yourself aren’t even whole. Don’t be fooled by people that say “love is sacrifice.” It’s not. Love is wholistic because it comes from the Holy Spirit. Sacrifices only make people bitter murderers.