Am I Free Enough to Let Others Be Free?
My ears are ringing most nights with the booming sounds of July in the Ozarks. I’m not complaining… OK, maybe I am. Let’s call it freedom of speech.
There’s a sense in which freedom is getting to decide what freedom means to us. And freedoms of all kinds – of worship, of speech, of the press – these are all freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution that are worth celebrating.
And yet, even in a nation that celebrates and prizes freedom, we know that “liberty and justice” has not been, and is not always even today, enjoyed equally by all.
Here are some responses from a blatantly unscientific survey I conducted recently around the question – What makes us free?
- Being out in nature
- Letting go of worry
- Giving selflessly
One person said freedom comes from trusting God’s love is “wrapped around me, which gives me the freedom to love others like God loves me.”
I’ve heard it said that freedom is an inside job. I think that’s true. I think it’s true mostly because whenever I’ve felt unfree – like certain occasions during my enlistment in the U.S. Navy, or when I’ve had a migraine headache – I can always find someone or something to blame other than myself, as if I’m a victim. Blaming others for my unfreeness is a guaranty that I’ve somehow been disconnected from the truth that my freedom is based entirely, 100%, on God’s gift of free will planted inside of me as a human being made in the Divine image.
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:31-32
Sometimes I wonder: am I free enough to allow others to be free? Free from my expectations and needs? If not, the only one getting imprisoned is me.
Christ in me – my authentic self – wants to see my neighbors as living, embodied expressions of God’s freedom and love, without judgement, allowing each one to be who they are, the person God made them to be. Yes, even if that means they are the sort of person who celebrates freedom every night in July with a variety of extravagances that go boom in the night.
In Joyful Service,