What is freedom? It’s one of those words that is used frequently, but I suspect many of us have no idea what it really means. I have come to the conclusion that when most people use the word, it is a way of saying, “I want to be able to do whatever I want to do without any undesirable consequences.” Another way it is used is to convey the idea of self-determination–“I am who I am”. Personally, I think that this definition of the word is more complete. With self determination, at least you are not dependent on other people to corroborate your understanding of who you are. The downside to this is that in some cultures, being you can feel like a threat to those who find their identity in conforming to a majority or group. Eventually most people will crack under the social pressure and begin to compromise themselves. Still, if I had to choose between the idea of freedom as allowance to be an unbounded reactionary and someone who chooses my actions for myself, I’d go the self determination route.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. — ee cummings
However, there is another expression of freedom that is beyond any idea that we can conceive of. It is the freedom of living our lives as conscious children of God. Under this idea of freedom, the person receives the benefits of the other two expressions. For example, when you fully realize that you are a child of God, you cannot help but see how others are as well. This knowledge changes not only who you are in the world, but furthermore, how you are in the world. For one thing, your desires change. When you take an action in the world you don’t have to be concerned about undesirable consequences anymore because you only want to do what honors the whole of creation. Furthermore, you get the sense that you are being nudged in the highest direction possible. Trusting the nudges is a great step in seeing that guidance does not threaten our freedom, but enhances it leading us into greater knowledge of who we are as God’s children.
With regard to self-determination, being God-determined is an upgrade. God doesn’t want to take anything from us. Contrarily, God wants to give us more of us. When we self determine we are still limited to the cultural or global context that we believe we emerge from. We can only determine who we are and who we are becoming to an extent. In the context of being God’s children, our expansion of self is indeterminable. No longer are we bound by the narratives created out of fear but we are set free to create our own narratives with the guidance of our Creator who knows us and invites us to be a part of the Eternal Love story where the shadows of fear have no power over how we see ourselves.
Below, is a sermon I delivered recently that shares the story of Rene Lima-Maron who, though his body has been bound by society is becoming increasingly free in God. When you listen, consider who the real prisoner is in this situation, Rene or the people who are so bound mentally that they cannot see the injustice they are perpetrating?
If after viewing this you would like to show some support to the Lima-Marin family, visit their Facebook page or go to this site to make a contribution to help with the legal costs of reuniting this family.
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