The United States is seen as the most “free” and liberated country on earth. We can start our own business, buy our own homes, vote for whatever president we want, carry guns, and more. We can even break into a person’s home, fall down their stairs, get injured, and then sue the home owner and win! True story, I promise. This country is built on equal rights and free choice! It’s the ultimate play -ground for the “do whatever you want, be whoever you want” mentality.
Doesn’t sound like a bad deal right?
Well what if we aren’t really free? What if being free was actually slavery? What if having no rules to the game made the game no longer fun but chaos? Look at football for example; there are many rules to football and because of those rules the game can function. If we took the rules away from football we would have complete chaos! Both teams offensive and defensive players on the field tackling every which way, no refs to flag plays, unlimited amount of time to play the game, while fans run on the field fighting one another; how insane would this be?
So think about our rules, what type of rules do we have in our freedom? How do you use your freedom? You have the choice to do basically anything you wish. So we as people most of the time choose to do things that are selfish. Generally speaking we are selfish individuals. If we were not so selfish I believe we would have already conquered world hunger, there would be less homeless on our streets, and we would be much more loving and caring to our neighbors.
We would rather go shopping for ourselves knowing we have a ton of clothes in our closets. We would rather buy the latest video game or movie than take a friend out for a good meal. We don’t want to give what we’ve worked hard for. We don’t want anyone touching what we “own”, or what we “deserve”. We see homeless in our cities each and everyday, yet we go home to the comfort of our amazon purchases and slew of shoes and multiple attractions to keep our minds busy and pleased.
It would be crazy to think that because of our lack of wanting to give to others, people in our community suffer. Too much selfishness in one place and people end up losing even if they don’t deserve to lose.
Giving us freedom to do whatever we so desire may not be the best thing. I mean our freedom bears good intentions right? But if our morals or beliefs are selfish ones then does this really mean that our freedom to do what we want is a healthy thing? So what do we need to have with our freedom?
We need boundaries.
I think in our minds we should have boundaries to our freedom. If we don’t have boundaries to our freedom then our it can easily become the chains to our slavery.
Think about it.
You can go down the street and drink a beer if you are a certain age. That is the only requirement the law asks of you. I’ve gone to a bar, shown my ID and got completely intoxicated, and because I wasn’t sober minded I would make horrible decisions one after another. That’s generally how drunkenness works and why God says it is a sin to be a drunkard. He knows it’s not good for us. We can’t properly function or process things and usually end up making irrational decisions. You know what is funny? God knows we are going to be idiots. He knows we so desperately need His grace, love and mercy. Either way, we have that choice to take that action if we wish. The “Freedom” for me to make that choice of getting drunk had consumed me in more ways than one. It caused many other issues like ending friendships, putting friends in jeopardy with the law, driving drunk, and being a sleazy dude which ultimately led me to feeling hollow and worthless inside. I thank Jesus for pulling me out of that one.
What about surfing the Internet? You have the freedom to choose to surf the internet. What do more than 50% of men struggle with? Pornography, warping us to look at women as objects instead of human beings with beating hearts and beautiful minds. But hey it’s our free choice in the palm of our hands. But if we do not have boundaries, moral conviction that are strong and sustainable, then we are helplessly enslaved, by our choosing of freedom.
So where do we start?
We start with what we value in our lives. Do we value women and their minds and rights? Do we see them as God’s children, as equals or do you see them as a place to release our selfish sexual lustful desires? (Seeing them as a game, a simple catch and release? Something to just get off to and onto the next? Is this what freedom looks like? I use this harshness because this is the reality of what you are fighting against, or maybe you’re not fighting at all. Only your morals and values will dictate you from being free to touch or not to touch. So what are your morals and do they actually play a role in your daily life or are you simply influenced by the world around you? Are you free from your past? Do you choose to have the values that implement forgiving those who harm or cross you? Do you have the boundary in your life to say no to a drink? It’s your free choice to say yes or no to the glass of whiskey or to say yes to the entire bottle. Will you be that drunkard at the bar who has nothing to his name and no future ahead of him but to order yet another? Will you be the richest man on earth making all the money in the world and yet your riches enslave you?
Can we see that our freedom if not clearly understood alongside our morals and values could be extremely damaging to us, enslaving us to what we idolize in life? What freedoms do you have in your life that manipulate your moral code and are actually enslaving you today? What do these idols do to our minds? They can easily manipulate and justify the actions so that in our minds we don’t feel like we are doing anything wrong. We tell ourselves that we aren’t hurting anyone and we aren’t hurting ourselves, so what’s the problem? This is where conviction comes in, when after the fact of committing to your idol you know deep down in your heart that you are doing something wrong. Again, it is your free choice to decide whether you are going to listen to that conviction or you will continue justifying your idolization, that is leading to internal and external harm in your life.
Side note: For the people who are struggling with self-harm.
This was laid on my heart.
Do you know that you are loved? You know that you have the free choice to cut yourself but is your freedom that is manipulating your moral code to this slavery of self-harm? Do you somehow justify to your mind that you deserve this and that you are not worthy of love or anything other than the pain you feel inside. That is a lie and you want to know something great and beautiful?
You actually can be free from that choice.
You can be free from that pain and His name is Jesus. He died so you could live and He wants you to be free and have real freedom in Him. He will teach you to love yourself, to have a strong moral code, and to give you the strength to say “No” to self-harm. When you accept Him but cut again, which most likely will happen because this is a battle, He will forgive you and continue loving you and will even fight beside you to conquer and win this battle. That’s the beauty of trusting Jesus, that’s the beauty of true freedom. His name is Jesus.
I ask you all to think about your freedom and see it for what it often is: an opportunity to be enslaved if you do not have a strong foundation in your morals and values. That is why I trust Jesus and ask to be more like Him. His morals and values are unshakable and they lead me to love not only myself but those around me; not to be enslaved by alcohol, greed or porn. He urges me gently and graciously towards Him and His moral code and not to love my selfish desires so that I may avoid falling into slavery of selfish pursuits.