“How Free Am I” by Pastor Darren Cowdrey
Freedom is a very high value for the United States. We’d like to believe that we are as free as possible. It’s an interesting concept to compare to our faith. We would certainly appreciate a God who didn’t want us to be oppressed. As concerns the swing to its opposite, how does God value human freedom?
It’s not as simple a question as you might think. We’d like to say that God wants ultimate freedom for all God’s people. But it’s a bit problematic to take that as absolute because our freedom is connected to the freedom of others. In other words, if I’m free to do whatever I want and you are as well; then we’re only as free as we allow each other to be. If I use my freedom to play loud music around you, then you’ve had to sacrifice your freedom for my freedom. So… you see the problem with using freedom as a blanket value.
I’m reading a book with my church that quotes a community activist named Saul Alinsky, who is quoted as saying, “People cannot be truly free unless they are willing to sacrifice some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others.”*
Maybe this is why the Christian scriptures don’t spend near as much time with individual freedom as they do with the concept of being “free in Christ”. It’s in our willingness to be open to God and God’s will for us that we come to know freedom. Freedom to be fully who we are as created by God.