True Freedom = No Rules, No Limits ?
We all want to be free, but only in growing in
our understanding of what “Freedom” means can we be truly free.
Our American culture says freedom means having no rules or restrictions.
It defines freedom as being able to do whatever I want and whenever I want
to do it. However, when we examine the lives of others who have based
their life on that definition we see lives that are warped by obsessions and
lives that are wasted by uncontrolled behavior. These disorders lead
to broken relationships and much pain and emotional suffering.
God wants us all to be free. Freedom is a gift.
God came to heal our brokenness and suffering. He came to mend and to
guide us into healthy relationships by offering us the greatest and the most
perfect relationship that we can have, a loving relationship with Him who is
most merciful and all loving. Out of love for us He gave us His Word to
guide us to true freedom and to enable us by His grace to find true fulfillment
and purpose for our lives.
“Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him,
‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know
the truth, and the truth will set you free.’
They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never
been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, “You will become free”?’
Jesus answered them,
amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.’
Imagine the following analogy. A loving mother and father buy their
teenage son a chemistry set so that he might grow in knowledge about that
science. However, if he blows himself up with it he has abused the gift.
Similarly, we find freedom in God’s Word, however if we chose to sin we have
abused the gift of freedom. We don’t have the right to do that.
Our freedom was given to us for a different purpose. Freedom is the
ability to do that which is good and that which is what we ought to do.
Some will protest and claim, “Don’t I have the moral right to
form my own
opinion and to believe whatever I wish to believe ?” The answer is
surprisingly “NO.”  We never have the moral right
to do that which is wrong. We never have the moral right to believe
that which is wrong. Looking closely at the previous statements and
we can see that it is a self-contradiction to say that a person has a right
to believe that which is wrong.
We don’t have the moral right to do or to believe whatever we wish to because we
do not belong to ourselves. We did not make ourselves. God made us.
We belong to Him and He has the right to determine what we have the right
to do or believe. He is a God of Truth. Even the embrace of the
smallest error is a rejection of truth. And the rejection of even a
small truth is to some degree a rejection of God.
Our American culture promotes the big lie that a person has a right to his
own opinion regardless of whether it is true or not. This lie is attractive
because it denies that we have any responsibility to search and find out
what is true and conform ourselves to it. This lie denies that there
is any universal objective truth that we must all follow. It
falsely asserts that we have the right to make up our own standards of what
is good or true.
God is a loving Father. He has given us rules to live by not because
he wants to control us, but rather because He loves us so much He wants to
protect us from harm. Why does a father tell his three year old son
not to play in the street ? He does so because the father knows what is best and he
wants to protect his son. Similarly, God’s rules are for our
own benefit. He knows what we need.
It would be senseless to say that a person is free to lock themselves up
in prison. That would be a rejection of what it means to be free.
Similarly, we are not free to choose error or to choose to sin, because sin
makes us a slave.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Amen, amen, I say
to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.’ ”
To choose to sin is to reject our freedom. Freedom is a gift for the
purpose of enabling us to do that which is right. Freedom then is the
ability to choose what is right and good. We are being free when we choose to do that which is right
which is for
our own good. We are not free to sin or to embrace error.
By learning that which is true we can grow in freedom. By learning
and applying God’s Word and Truth in our lives we can be truly free.
“… I came so that they might have life and have
it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd.”
While a person does have certain legal rights to think as he chooses the
purpose of this article is to address what are man’s moral rights.
Do I want to force others to think and to act rightly ? No, of course
I do not as long as they are not harming society by violating Natural Law.
God has given us freedom. When a person abuses that freedom God does
not start forcing them to choose that which is right. True religion
is about helping others to choose to love. If a person is forced to
act rightly that is not love on their part.
A HIERARCHY OF RIGHTS
are so important that they transcend other rights.
In 1776 when Thomas Jefferson penned The Declaration of Independence he listed
some of our rights and the ordered them are as follows: “Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson was influenced by John
Locke who ordered man’s rights as Life, Liberty, and the right to own property.
There is good reason for placing them in this order because there is a hierarchical
level of importance to these rights.
This hierarchical order can best be demonstrated by considering the Dred
Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857. Dred Scott, a black slave, sued
for freedom on the basis that he had been brought into the State of Illinois,
a free state. The Supreme Court ruled against him in favor of his owner
based on his owner’s right to property, his slave. This ruling was
flawed in that it considered a person’s right to own property as a higher
right than the other person’s right to Liberty or freedom.
The first and most important principle is the right to life. Second
is the right to be free. Third is the right to own property.
Respecting this hierarchy is most important. For example, if one person
owns some property, but he is a slave to another then who really owns the
property ? If a person has the right to be free and own property,
but he is going to be murdered tonight then the second and third principles
become meaningless. The right to life is paramount.
MARY MORAL ISSUES
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