Monday, April 1, 2019. What about human freedom? What is it that makes you free? We are all free to some extent. We make our choices day by day. We choose what to wear. We choose what to say. We shape our free time. We shape our relationships. We choose a partner. There is so much freedom in human life.
How free are we? …
At the same time, we are also unfree to some extent. Our choices are influenced by the environment we have grown up in. We are influenced and limited by our experiences. Some of us had to make very bad and difficult experiences, traumatic and strongly endangering. It is not easy to get rid of the influences which have shaped our mind, our emotions, our soul, our existence!
The topic of freedom is a basic and important topic of faith as well. Some people think that Christianity is a set of rules which are limiting our freedom. There are a lot of ideas about God shaping and limiting our life, even in Christian communities. But is it true? What limits does God impose upon us? And what does freedom mean to us?
Let us have a look into Galatians, where the apostle Paul writes about freedom in Christ:
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Gal 5, 13)
Christians are called to freedom! That is one of the core messages we find several times in the New Testament. Jesus talks about the freedom which comes to those who believe in him and follow him. What type of freedom is he talking about, and what freedom is he NOT talking about? Let us sort it a little bit …
Freedom of Christ …
The freedom Jesus is not talking about is to behave badly towards others. He is not talking about the freedom to murder, the freedom to steal, the freedom to be greedy and the freedom to take what belongs to others.
But Jesus talks about the freedom of bad behaviour. He talks about the freedom not to murder, the freedom not to steal, the freedom not to be greedy and the freedom to leave to others what belongs to them.
He also talks about the freedom to love and give freely. It is freedom, if we are able to be healed from the bad things which shaped our past or shape us today. It is freedom to be pure in heart, mind and spirit, and to be able to resist evil and bad things.
Discover the freedom of Christ! That is the invitation we hear from the apostles and evangelists of the New Testament. We can discover it, you and me, by listening to Jesus and by doing what he tells us to do. It is not difficult! Every child can do it, and so can you and I. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts