Freedom For What?

Everyday my Facebook deed is inundated with political stumps.  I understand that, the nation is less than two months away from a Presidential election and people want to express their right to free speech to make their views known.

My problem is with the vitriolic nature and dishonesty many of these stumps carry forth.  They only seem to anger those who disagree and help further the polarization among society.  It’s even more disturbing when I see Christians engaged such activity that only seems to create hostility.

This has me thinking about the use of freedom and specifically how such freedom is vocalized.  What I want to say now is for Christians since our freedom is deeper and greater than the right to free speech that all Americans our afforded.  Our freedom is in Christ (cf. Gal 5:1) which means that our standard for how we live comes from Christ.

Here is what the apostle Paul has to say about the use of our freedom in Galatians 5:13-14:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now I know that historically Paul is addressing a church situation and how Christians ought to be treating their fellow Christians.  Yet I believe the logic of Paul’s wisdom in this passage can apply to the way Christians exercise their freedom within society.  The logic of Paul’s wisdom essentially boils down to this: Christians should not use freedom to engage in the ways of the world but instead to “serve one another humbly in love.”  Put another way, the image of freedom in Christ is the act of humble loving service to others (i.e., the picture above).

So rather than using our freedom to denigrate politicians we disagree with and the people who support those politicians, let’s use our freedom to serve our neighbors regardless of their political and religious views, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, regardless or their lifestyle or economic status, regardless…  And yes, this must extend to our Muslim neighbors as well.

The hard part for me is not the serving neighbor part.  I can do that.  What is hard for me is refraining from voicing my opinion on each candidate running for President.  I’m trying to practice my own advise, which is not always easy and I apologize for failing to adhere to my own advise in the past.

So let’s use our freedom for expressing what really matters, the love of God manifested in the humble acts of loving service by God’s people for others!

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5 responses to “Freedom For What?

  1. Rex,
    Just pondering your thoughts. As humans, we fear many things. Perhaps what we fear the most is that something is going to be taken from us. We want to hold on to “what belongs to us”. In order to protect “what is ours” we have this mind set that we can and should fight back to protect what we possess. So we pull out our arsenal of weapons, and sometimes harsh words can be a form of trying to protect our ideals. Maybe this is why Jesus wants us to be ever so careful of placing any value on our possessions. When we value anything over the Kingdom of God we become slaves to those things. Wether it be possessions, rights, ideals, anything. If we have truly died to our selfish nature then we are free to use what we have been blessed with for the benefit of our neighbor. A selfish nature simply cannot enjoy the freedom from itself. It has to fight to maintain itself. As Christians we can be free from the fear of something being taken from us because we have already offered it up, in the example of Jesus our brother.
    In Him,
    Amy

    • I think you expose the bigger problem that is going on. For so many people, and some Christians too, their vision of democracy has become a god/idol. Until we die to ourselves, we cannot let go of our gods/idols and until then we cannot be free of the need to fight.

  2. Rex,

    I hear what you are saying, but the apostle Paul also says to speak the truth in love. Maybe in the serving of others we will be able to speak the truth to them in a loving manner. It seems to me that we can serve others, yet disagree with where they are in their positions about something and, in a respectful manner, share God’s truth with them. What do you think?

    • I agree and don’t think applying the logic of Paul’s wisdom in Gal 5:13-14 means we are excluded from speaking the truth in love as Paul says to do in Eph 5:14. But speaking the truth and speaking the truth in love requires wisdom in knowing how to practice. I think we can effectively speak the truth in love when we are asked questions, given permission to speak (i.e., when we preach before the church, we are doing so with permission), or when we are in a civil conversation with give and take.

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