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Janice B. Scott

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Good News - Freedom
By Janice B. Scott
Last edited: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011



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We all have the freedom to choose how to behave, but if we make the wrong choices, we can't expect God to reach down from heaven and put everything right by a flick of his wrist.

 

Good News

Freedom

When the Magi visited the baby in the stable all those years ago, they were fortunate. They had the freedom to travel wherever they wished and they didn’t have to wait for hours in customs, or flash their passports as they crossed the borders between different countries.

Life is very different now. We’re hemmed in by rules and regulations and it sometimes seems that we can hardly breathe without permission. At primary school carol concerts in church, we now have to be very careful about allowing parents permission to take photos of the nativity scene, in case they photograph somebody else’s child.

Life sometimes seems to have gone mad with all its restrictions on our freedom. And although I’m aware there are good and sensible reasons for these restrictions, many of them seem like overkill for situations which might occur somewhere at some time, but here at least, in small Norfolk villages, are very unlikely.

However, we do at least have the freedom to come and go as we please within our own country, to walk when and where we want, to drive or to take a journey and to do more or less as we wish. How awful it must be not to have that freedom. To be locked up in prison or in a secure hospital, or even to be under house arrest. How awful it must be to wear an electronic tag, so that your every movement can be monitored. How awful it must be for the elderly who are so frail that they’re prisoners in their own homes.

Many people are so concerned about our right to freedom that they strongly oppose any form of identity cards, no matter how much advantage identity cards might be to the law abiding population, in reducing crime.

Freedom is an important issue in life and Christianity has some good news about it.

God recognises the importance of freedom to human beings and has enshrined it in his own natural laws. God has given us free will to do exactly as we wish.

Of course, there is a down side to this. It means we can choose to hurt and abuse other people if we wish – and many of us human beings do wish to do precisely that. It means that we can choose to abuse ourselves and our own bodies if we wish, and many people do this with drink or drugs. It means we may choose to go to war if we wish – and many of us human beings choose that, via our elected representatives.

So the free will given to all human beings sometimes involves us in things we might prefer not to be involved in, because other human beings have exercised their choice and their choice has superseded our choice.

Our right to free will also means that when things go wrong for us God cannot reach down from Heaven and put things right, because if he did that, God would be violating our right to free will. God cannot reverse the choices we have made, although he can help us to clean up the mess afterwards. We are free to make our choices, but when they’re made, they’re made.

If a group of human beings use their free will to choose to use an aeroplane as a kind of massive human bomb to destroy life and property, God can’t stop that choice. We have to live with the results of our choices and the results of other people’s choices, even if we don’t like them.

So obviously, if we human beings are to fully enjoy our God-given right to free will, we need to use it responsibly. Even harder, we need to recognise that all human beings are in it together and that we all need to work together for the good of humanity and the good of our planet, because God can’t do it for us. God can of course help if we ask him, but we have to initiate God’s action. And when you think of all the millions of human beings that exist, with wildly different views and ideas, that human co-operation with each other and with God is never going to be easy.

But there’s more good news about freedom, and it’s good news about individual freedom.

When I look at my own life, I realise that I’m often stuck in patterns of behaviour which I might not much like but which are there whether I like it or not.

For instance, I rarely visit the doctor even when I feel unwell, because as a child I learned two things about doctors. I learned that they’re very busy people and shouldn’t be troubled unnecessarily – and this may even be a throw back to the days when my mother was young and the family couldn’t afford to pay for the doctor – but I also learned that doctors got very cross indeed if you bothered them over something which seemed to have serious symptoms but which turned out to be trivial. Now I know that those days are long past and that everything – including the attitude of the medical profession – has changed dramatically. But I still find myself stuck with a real reluctance to call upon the doctor under any circumstances. It’s irrational, stupid and could be dangerous, but I’m stuck there.

There are many other ways in which we get stuck and quite often we don’t even recognise that we are stuck. One common pattern of behaviour is a kind of negativity whenever we’re asked to do something. The immediate answer is always no, whatever the question. Another common pattern of behaviour is the exact reverse – an immediate “yes” whatever the question and whether we want to do what’s being requested or not. And so we find ourselves doing things we’d rather not do, or not doing things we’d quite like to do, because we’ve reacted in our usual pattern rather than being able to think things through.

Christianity offers a solution to that. Through Jesus Christ we can begin to address our unthinking patterns of behaviour and through Jesus Christ we can change. Many Christians today are witnesses in their own lives to profound changes in their way of life and in their patterns of thought and behaviour.

The Church calls it “freedom from sin”. Change simply requires a real, deep desire to change, then turning to Christ, asking for his help and following him.

This is good news. We are forgiven for all our faults, sins, patterns of behaviour, whatever you like to call it. And we are freed from their influence so that instead of being trapped by our own personality and background, we’re free to go out and do whatever we want to do.

Freedom is possible in so many ways. God has given us free will and God also gives us the ability to go out and exercise that free will in every way. The good news of Christianity is that if we want freedom, it’s ours for the taking.


Summary

  • We’re hemmed in by rules and regulations and it sometimes seems that we can hardly breathe without permission.

  • Many people are so concerned about our right to freedom that they strongly oppose any form of identity cards.

  • Freedom is an important issue in life and Christianity has some good news about it.

  • God has given us free will to do exactly as we wish.

  • It means we can choose to hurt and abuse other people if we wish.

  • It also means that when things go wrong for us God cannot reach down from Heaven and put things right, because if he did that, God would be violating our right to free will.

  • God cannot reverse the choices we have made, although he can help us to clean up the mess afterwards.

  • If we human beings are to fully enjoy our God-given right to free will, we need to use it responsibly.

  • There’s also good news about individual freedom.

  • We often find ourselves doing things we’d rather not do, or not doing things we’d quite like to do, because we’ve reacted in our usual pattern.

  • Through Jesus Christ we can begin to address our unthinking patterns of behaviour and through Jesus Christ we can change.

  • Change simply requires a real, deep desire to change, then turning to Christ, asking for his help and following him

  • The good news of Christianity is that if we want freedom, it’s ours for the taking.



 

 

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Books by
Janice B. Scott



Heaven Spent (Kindle Edition)

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Vengeance Lies In Wait

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Children's Stories Volume 2

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Poisoned By Yew

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Babes And Sucklings

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Children's Stories

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Heaven Spent

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