Fruit of the Spirit: Love
For the past few years, we have chosen a theme to guide us through each year. In 2022, we embraced the "Year of the Staff," and in 2023, we focused on "Strengthening our roots." Having fortified our foundations, the Belay/DuHope staff has decided that it's time to bear fruit. Therefore, our focal point for 2024 is the Fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23.
The emphasis for January and February is on Love.
Love is considered a fundamental virtue and a central theme in the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bible, especially the New Testament, offers guidance on how Christians should comprehend and practice love.
The concept of Christian love is often encapsulated in the Greek word "agape." Agape is a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love that seeks the well-being and welfare of others. This idea is rooted in Jesus' teachings, such as the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39) and the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus encourages his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:43-48).
Can you imagine being so desperate and loving your children so much that you would do ANYTHING to feed them? At DuHope, we quickly learned that the women we work with are trapped in survival sex work as a means to provide for their children. Unfortunately, many are not even meeting the basic needs of food, and they have developed some really bad coping mechanisms to deal with the painful side of poverty and survival sex work.
And so, we love.
Our staff at DuHope demonstrates agape love to the women emerging from survival sex work. When they lie to us and are disrespectful, we love. When they finally open up about past hurts and trauma, we love. When they return to the streets for fast cash or revert to substance abuse, we love. And when they come back…yes, we love.
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business, and in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.” Thomas Merton