What is Freedom? II ...
Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Freedom needs to be taken day by day. Let us discuss dependencies and a special kind of slavery which can be part of our life day by day. What I mean is the following: we all have ideas and images which guide our decisions. We all have mechanisms and reaction patterns, which determine how we act and feel in a particular situation.
Is it freedom to behave like we do? When you are always drawn into a particular pattern of behaviour, is that free? No, it is not. You are influenced by something, by some idea or by a failure in the past. And this is pushing you. It has power over your choices. It determines what you want - or better, it is pushing itself over what you would want and need if this would not determine you!
Path to Freedom …
What is your path to freedom? First, you need to see the mechanisms which limit your freedom. You need to realize the things which make you dependent. You need to find a way to realize what is keeping you in a prison.
What can help you to do so? Many of us talk to friends, to other people. Their opinion helps us to grow out of our own valey. And it is definitely a good idea to talk to friends and colleagues, which want to help you and want to be there to be good company.
But humans are humans, and they themselves have their limitations. We all have. This is why we need more, we need an influence which is beyond our boundaries and human limitations. Let us have a look into the gospel of John, where Jesus talks about freedom:
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave2 to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8, 31-38)
The Word of Jesus …
When we hear Jesus talking about “my word” this refers to basically the New Testament, and the Old Testament as well. Perhaps you can accept this temporarily, we would need to go into a longer excursion to clarify why and in what sense the bible is the word of Jesus.
But let us talk about this mechanism for now. The word of Jesus helps us to recognize what makes us dependent. It shows us both the facts, and it provides and prepares a path out of it.
The bible has a far reaching claim. It tells us that it is the word of God (which is the word of Jesus, the son of God, God himself who became human). And this word is creative. It is full of power. It is full of freedom. It is full of mercy, justice, love and purity. It can open our eyes. It shows our sin - that means it shows where we are far away from God and his purity. It also shows his love and mercy, it shows to us that he already paid for our sin. It shows us the path of faith, that we can trust him.
Freedom needs to be gained, step by step. You can be given freedom: here you go, now you are free. But then you have to live in freedom. You have to learn to act feely. That is a long path. You realize that you can make decisions, in this freedom. It is also freedom to go back to the prison. But then, after you did, you will not be able to leave again. But when you continue to explore the path of freedom, you gain strength. It is strength of faith, the strength of mercy, justice, love and truthfullness. Freedom in Christ Jesus is a fantastic path indeed! Come and see … (Roland Potthast) ... further texts