Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

Freedom Must Be Lived In Terms of Responsibleness

November 8, 2016

Freedom is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl knew something about freedom–and being deprived of it. He was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp in World War II.

He watched people react in the face of great deprivation and facing death. He discovered that the key to survival from a mental health perspective was having meaning in life.

He also saw the reaction to freedom.

I’d have to imagine he’d be cringing at the attitudes of people over the past few years who keep screaming for freedom–as in leave me alone so I can do what I want to do–with no companion thought of responsibility. Or to paraphrase an old movie, “Responsibility? I don’t need no stinkin’ responsibility.”

Jesus often set people free. And usually he gave them something to do, some responsibility.

He was walking one day and ten guys with very serious and debilitating skin diseases approached him. Jesus had sympathy. He said, “Go and show yourself to the priests and you will be made clean.” (You had to have a priest certify your ritual cleanliness so that you could be admitted back to the community.)

They did this with great joy and were healed. Healing… responsibility.

That story has a peculiar ending for us to ponder in this racially charged era we find ourselves in.

One of the ten came back to thank and praise Jesus. One! And that one–he was a Samaritan, a person of a different “race.” That story was designed to rock the world of the Jewish listeners. What!? The good guy is not one of us?

Unless we become responsible people, our freedom degenerates into self-absorption.


Freedom Does Not Equal Doing Whatever You Want

October 27, 2015

Americans love to talk about freedom. Scan Facebook and you’ll see many posts about rights and freedom. Never one about the responsibility that goes along with it.

What you do with your freedom is more important than having the freedom. And, by the way, even the Founding Fathers when discussing freedoms postulated that they originated with God.

And who better to help us understand God than the apostle Paul.

Check out the letter to the Galatians–my in-depth study object for the next few months.

Writing (Galatians 5:13-15), Paul addresses this directly.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.”

Americans, and actually also western Europeans, have trouble when Paul uses the word translated into English as slave. I remember writers such as Marx and Nietzsche stumbling over that word. Paul didn’t say to become “unfree.” Remember the commandment that Jesus left us with? Love one another. Take that as what Paul meant.

When Paul talks about slave, he talks about being a servant. Like when Jesus took off his outer robe and washed the feet of the disciples.

When we in America get all caught up in interpreting whatever we want into the First Amendment, Second Amendment, and so on through the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, we should be really discussing what our (personally) responsibilities are with that freedom.

When we talk about freedom in Jesus, our discussion must center on the idea “now that we are free from having to worry about following every little item in the law, what are we going to do with that freedom.” That discussion must focus on what we will do for others as servants in love.