Almost everywhere in the world today, there is a whole lot of talk about freedoms and rights. People want to be set free from laws, accepted standards and moral views, which have held us together or in some cases apart, for generations. The demands for special treatment and privileges, by different groups, have risen in significance and are being fueled by the progress gained by the Civil Rights Movement of the ‘60s.
In Christian circles, a great emphasis too, is put on being “set free”. As believers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we continually strive to free ourselves from sin and being yoked to things and people that keep us separated from the grace and fellowship of God. It is a really good thing when we are freed from some situation, person or thing that has kept us confined, limited or subdued. Freedom is good, freedom is a right, but is this always so?
Today, we hear demands for freedom from various groups that want to be unrestricted and unchallenged to do things that they feel they should have the right to do and say. Many of these “rights” challenge laws and morals that have been with us for many generations. Various groups are now demanding special status and protections from unfair treatment and persecution. You have groups like the Women’s Liberation movement, Gay Liberation movement, Pro-abortion movement, and many others, all with similar demands; the “RIGHT” to do as they wish with their lives, without any legal or moral constrains.
This cry for freedom is alluring and catches on quite easily mainly because of our inherent need as humans, to be able to choose our own destiny. Many well meaning people will end up accommodating and supporting the right for others to live as they wish, even if it is against laws now on the books or against moral and religious norms. Why? Because it seems like it is the right way to go about things. With the increase of knowledge and in the name of progress, comes the increase in curiosity, experimenting and discovery, where people keep pushing the gambit with an ever increasing tolerance for the strange and abnormal.
As Christians we are called to a higher spiritual and moral standard, where freedom is not about exercising the “right” to indulge in our own carnal will but is found in submitting our lives, thoughts and actions to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and heeding His great commandment to LOVE. We are to be led by the Spirit of Truth (see John 14:16-17), not the ideals and claims of the world. It is so easy to get caught up in worldly opinions and morals as we have to live and interact with unbelievers every day, yet God said that we should “come out and be separate”, a call that takes great courage, faith and commitment to yield to. While God gave us all free will, self-will was never His intention.
Although I would never go as far as to suggest that we should deny anyone their right to live the way they wish, I find it presumptuous and offensive to be expected to give up my morals and beliefs to accommodate other groups in their quest for freedom. One of the more persistent demand being made and lobbied for by some of the more vocal groups is the attempt to classify Christian morals and rules as “hate crimes” and the Bible as “hate speech”. Given their way, Christianity would be made illegal and eradicated from the face of the earth, an interesting twist of reverse discrimination from these so called “victims” of discrimination.
What they are really saying in their hearts can be found in the book of Psalms 2:1-3 which states, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (KJV). In a more clarified way, this is quoted from the Living Bible as, “What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God! For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King. “Come, let us break his chains,” they say, “and free ourselves from all this slavery to God.”
Freedom from God in reality is just rebellion, one that is fueled by pride, ego and self-will or, to be politically correct, “self-determination”.
In a very real way, the world sees God and His commandments as slavery and will stop at nothing to break any hold it has over them and their having the “freedom” to live and do as they like. Those who are spiritually minded and recognize their need for God’s moral rules in their lives know that the real slavery is living in sin and being in bondage to immoral lifestyles. True freedom will only be found in repentance from sin and being reconciled with God. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36) .
Many people nowadays would rather be their own “master” and live by their own rules, many of which they seem make up as they go along. A very sad way to spend this temporary gift of human life that the Lord has blessed us with, indeed! But what should Christians do about all these groups and their demands? Should we just sit back and allow them to take over society? Should we attack homosexuals, bomb abortion clinics, root out spiritual tyranny wherever it rears its ugly head?
No, my brothers and sisters, we should not sit back and be a spectator nor should we harm or oppress any groups that have ideals and lifestyles contrary or different from what the bible encourages us to have. It is not Christian to condemn people living in sin as we too were, and quite frankly still are, also sinners. God has already condemned sin and shows us in His word what qualifies as sin and how to avoid and refrain from it. It is to our advantage to know this and also to know when it is appropriate to share our beliefs with others in the hope that they too might turn from sinful practices. We will never stop sin in others by condemning them or making life miserable for them. We will do more good by having Godly character and living holy lives, which when others see might make them desire to have the peace, blessings and true freedom they see in us, a quality of life only attainable through fellowship with the Lord. Being a good example is more convincing than beating down or demonizing someone with “what God said”. We are called to witness to others, not judge them.
For those of us who are so inclined, political office or participation is also an option. Being in a position to make decisions and pass laws is very necessary for Christians as we have to live with and obey the laws of the land as well as God’s laws. We need to get registered and vote in every election for the candidates that support our views and morals. Making a difference in political life is just as important as it is in religion and spirituality.
Jesus knew sin and sinful lifestyles would be with us till the end and this is one of the reasons He gave the parable of the tares (Matt. 13:24-43). In this parable the workers wanted to root up the tares (a kind of weed that resembles wheat) but were told to leave them to grow with the wheat until the harvest. Sinners will always be with us but the harvest is coming and at that time, God, not us, will judge who is worthy and who is not. If we are to truly submit to the Lord’s will then we should never allow ourselves to become oppressive “in His name” or for any other biblical reason, instead, we aught to be kind and merciful, even to those who make themselves our enemies. It is written in Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink”.
Showing love and tolerance toward sinners should not be mistaken for tolerance of sin as there is a big difference in the two. We can only erase sin in our own lives but we should always endeavor to encourage and allow others to do the same in theirs. We will never accomplish this through hatred and bigotry, which are in themselves sins also, but rather through emulating the life of Jesus, who ate and drank with sinners and forgave them, always leaving them with the final encouragement of “Go and sin no more”.