Freedom through Love is our tagline at Rebirth Homes, but it is so much more than a saying we put on merchandise. It’s a key part of our culture. It’s how we seek to live.
Each day in Rebirth Homes looks different, and while the long-term residential program has a set schedule, it changes based on what our participants and staff/volunteers are experiencing that day. The culture of Rebirth Homes is founded on the love Christ offers us. While we do not model this perfectly every day, we do our best to keep love at the center of everything we do.
When trauma, specifically PTSD, is being worked through, it looks like a lot of anger, hurt, sadness, and other strong emotions, so it is so easy for those journeying with survivors to lose perspective and lose patience through this challenging process of healing. Over the years, volunteers and paid staff at Rebirth Homes have sometimes taken these emotions personally and been overwhelmed or even experienced secondary trauma. We cannot give what we don’t have. So, to walk in love, we turn to scripture. The Bible has so much to say about love, and we look to 1 Corinthians 13 as a model for Rebirth’s culture of love. This affects how we treat each other as a team as well as how we love every person who walks through our doors.
“Love is patient.” Without God’s Spirit moving in our lives, it can be tough to be patient. Patience is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5) for good reason! Sometimes the patience we need is patience with ourselves as much as it is with others, and sometimes we need to remember to love ourselves as much as we love the people we serve.
“Love is kind.” This part of scripture might seem a little bit easier; however, this passage is not stating “when it’s easy or when we feel like it.” To love, we must always be kind. How will we respond when someone says something mean to us or cusses us out? Feelings may be hurt, but we are still told to be kind.
“Love does not envy.” Do we celebrate the successes of others and build others up? One of our values is integrity and we believe that we are called to build one another up especially when someone is not in the room. We have to ask ourselves, “Would I say this if the person was in the room?” It’s so important to be thankful for what we have been given without feeling the need to tear someone else down out of envy.
“Love does not boast and it is not proud.” What is our motive when serving others? Is it rooted in pride or do we genuinely love them? Would we be willing to open our hearts and lives to them and consider them part of our family? When fueled by pride, we want others to notice us and acknowledge us and we can serve out of selfish ambition, but when we practice humility, God clears the space for us to love one another well.
As we can see in 1 Corinthians 13, love really comes down to our heart condition. Are we loving the way Jesus loves us? This is the most challenging part of our faith. It is easy to take an earthly perspective and love those who are easy to love when it is easy to love, but we are called to love from a heavenly perspective, which means loving even when it is tough to love.
When we prayed about our tagline, we landed on #freedomthroughlove as a team because it is the unconditional love that our participants experience that keeps them going through the easy days as well as the most difficult days. It is our culture of love that brings women back to Rebirth Homes when they decide to leave. We genuinely love each person who comes our way and we are grateful that this love is fueled by the love of Christ.
Thank you to every person who has loved us and journeyed with us over the years. Your love continues to inspire us to keep loving.
“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. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)