Said Patrick Henry, persuading the crowd of Virginians to enter the Revolutionary War.
We seem to be entering Revolutionary times again. There’s so much fuss about what rights we have. American rights, Black, White, Male, Female, those who are confused somewhere in the middle, we all have rights, right? We all say we want this thing called Freedom. Liberty. Rights. But what does Freedom really mean anyway? And what does it really look like?
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines freedom as:
1. the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
2. liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: independence
3. unrestricted use
Generally speaking, we think of freedom in the since of definition 3 – Unrestricted use.
We long for unrestricted use. We long to be our own boss, set our own hours, chart our own course. We swell up when someone puts a lid on those excitements and says we can’t.
“Who is he to tell me I can’t?”
“I’m a woman and I can do whatever I want to!”
We have the right to be free, right? We have the right to healthcare, to equality, to speaking what we think at the moment and posting to social media without any negative consequences, right?
I don’t know.
Our Founding Fathers fought for this freedom. And won. We were created as “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberties and justice for all”. Liberties, freedoms, Bill of Rights, they all go hand in hand together with the message of “Let Freedom Ring!”
The slaves during the Civil War longed for freedom. World War 2 POWs living in enemy camp remember when they learned the war was over. Victory was theirs. Their captors didn’t have authority over them anymore.
I have longed for it. Anyone who’s ever lived in chains doesn’t let a day go by without searching for the aroma of freedom.
Take the teenage years. Teenagers want freedom with no limits. They want to use cell phones when and where ever, electronics, car, no curfew. I was one. Didn’t my parents love and trust me enough to make all my own decisions. Yes, they loved me and NO they didn’t trust me enough to make all my own decisions– they knew the truth, the fact that, too much rope of freedom and I’d hang myself. That isn’t very loving is it? To allow too much freedom that you endanger yourself?
But that sounds so constricting.
I’ve written about truth before. How important it is, how it is our backbone. The last line said in the post said, “The truth will set you free.”
That is what Truth is designed to do. Set Us Free.
Truth goes hand in hand with so many things. That’s why it has to be the foundation, the cornerstone, the straight line.
Love and freedom then rest on the straight line of truth.
I used to think freedom meant doing whatever I wished with no consequences, no responsibility. That’s an idea of freedom void of truth.
There’s freedom from and freedom to. In the spiritual since, Christ freed us from our sins. When we surrender our lives to Him, He frees us from the penalty of sin, which is death. Satan has lost his power over us in the end. God wins.
Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
But we also have a warning from Scripture, the source of truth, that says, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16
And Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
So we are free from sin and its consequences and free to now serve our new master, Jesus Christ. His word of Truth sets guard rails around us for our protection. Just like my parents did with curfews and general house/respect rules. Because it’s not very loving to not warn someone if they’re about to drink poison.
Truth with freedom says I can do whatever I want, but there will be consequences. For when you violate truth, you walk out from underneath the protection it brings.
Speaking of guardrails, have you ever gone hiking in the mountains at a State Park and seen guardrails right at the point where the earth drops off?
Whether you like them or not, guard rails provide a since of safety. They say, don’t go past here, so that we can go right up to them and enjoy the view in safety. Do we have the freedom to go past – under, over, around the rail? Yes, I guess you do, but you take your life in your own hands. That’s truth protecting us.
We have perfect freedom to go right up to that guardrail. We can sit on it if we like. That’s freedom to me. Freedom in love, grounded in truth.
With that said, my heart breaks over what is being fought for in our country in the name of freedom. For in the end, I fear the person fighting is left shackled more than ever to an invisible captor. Only the Truth of Jesus Christ sets free. The truth of Jesus calls out to everyone, every race, every gender, even those who are confused, yes, even to homosexuals. It calls to those who are divorced, who are single, married, even murderers, people caught in adultery, no one is outside the message of salvation.
However, I see an applauding of what is sinful in God’s sight. It’s not saying I see your sin, and because I don’t have any I can point yours out. It’s saying we have all fallen short of God’s standard, including me, including you. I have chosen Jesus to cover that ugly so now I stand whole and complete not lacking anything before God. Have you? If we don’t call wrong wrong, we’ll never see our need of a Savior. The truth hurts, but then it heals.
However, I wouldn’t put a flag outside my house or alter my Facebook picture in honor of my best friend who just left her husband for another, better looking guy. But that’s what I see being done. Is it in effort to love them, to be on their side?
We can love. We can be on their side. They will never have a better friend than Jesus Christ. Jesus met with the homosexuals and transgenders of His day. They were never the same after dinner with Jesus. They didn’t want to be. They wanted to follow Jesus, the Truth, no matter what the cost.
I don’t know how to handle the court’s decision on marriage. I can’t tell you how you should. I do know this: The time has come for it to cost us something to be a disciple of Jesus. That is is the truth. The crazy thing is, we will live in freedom when we stand on the Truth of His Word and not back down when culture tells us to.