We hear about freedom a lot. In the U.S. Because of the extent of the freedoms we have, the theme of freedom is constantly flowing around us. But lately, it’s being thrown about more. People are declaring many freedoms are being infringed upon. And I get it. We should always be vigilant as to what’s happening around us, considering not only the ways changes impact today but also our tomorrows.
But I think we’ve become so accustomed to freedom that we’re desensitized to it at times. We skew the definition and our expectations. We get it wrong. Because lately, freedom infringements seem to have more to do with individual comfort and preference than society well-being. And when we become more obsessed with our personal freedoms than considering the community, we will nearly always infringe on others’ freedoms. Living well alongside others is always woven with give and take. If you consider each of us as threads, the only way we securely weave together is sometimes being up and over and other times dipping under the other threads. Go ahead and try to climb on the top all the time, and you’ll find yourself more unattached than you predicted.
What kinds of freedom are we pursuing? Are we willing to get to the core and truly admit what’s driving our claims? Is it a freedom to pretend? A freedom to devise what we want reality to be? A freedom to focus on ourselves? Are we afraid, intimidated, or selfish? What’s truly happening?
I think our methods reveal a lot about our motivations. Spewing anger and accusations might make us feel better, but it doesn’t resolve the issues we say are so important to us. Refusing to consider facts by claiming unreliable resources and schemes of misinformation and control while we cherry-pick our own baskets of misinformation divides us.
And dividing ourselves from others isn’t particularly being “set apart” as many want to claim. As Christians, we are to be set apart, so it’s a claim we want to make to justify ourselves. But being set apart isn’t intended to invite us to go where we want to go and do what we want to do. Being set apart isn’t something we do for ourselves at all. God takes care of the setting apart. Our responsibility is to be willing. Following Jesus isn’t passive. Our faith is engaging. It is humbling. It is a continual posture of seeking, responding, correcting, and growing. We can’t do that when we replace God’s idea of freedom with what we feel we have been promised by our country. We can’t do that when we replace God’s promise of freedom with our demands. And we certainly should not infuse his name into the freedoms we most want, claiming it’s what he would want, too. Only he gets to say that. Cherry-picking verses doesn’t change his truth and his priorities of how we honor him with our lives, including how we impact others.
God cares about how we treat others. He cares about the compassion and kindness we show others. He cares about our sacrifices that help others. Freedom can only be pursued and expressed when we are humble enough to follow God well.