Yearning For Freedom

Freedom is an emotion-laden word. And concept.

Americans today with little sense of history think the concept originated here. That is not true.

As empires formed and swept through the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean world, conquered tribes yearned for freedom from being servants of the new rulers.

After Jesus’ resurrection and the formation of the church, new followers felt that freedom—still under Roman rule, but also now a citizen of God’s kingdom.

But what did freedom mean? Did it mean that the people could do as they pleased? Follow every desire and whim? Living without caring about others but only to satisfy the temporary pleasures of the flesh? Ability to rip off the face masks of oppression and infect others with a potentially deadly virus? Free to riot in a time of unrest so that blame could be placed on other, peaceful protesters? Oops, those last two aren’t from ancient times. But they fit.

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to one of his little groups of Jesus-followers trying to explain what is hard to explain. What is freedom.

Freedom is not a list. It is not “Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign”.

When you live in the spirit, you are free. Yet, you will also find yourself following the laws of moral living—loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Sometimes I pause and contemplate the yearning for freedom of peoples throughout the world and think how petty some of the things are that we call freedom.

The founders of the American government knew that with freedom comes responsibility. If the two do not walk hand in hand, then true freedom is lost.

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