Are You Truly Free?

Have you heard about Lindsey Stone?  She’s the Massachusetts woman who posted the above picture of herself on facebook.  As you can see she is making a crude gesture and yelling in front of a sign in Arlington National Cemetery that says, “Silence and Respect.”  Obviously, she is doing neither. The post went viral causing a national controversy.  As a result, Lindsey was fired from her job.

Now, some are seeking to make Stone a martyr.  They argue she should have the freedom to say what she pleases.  Act as she wants.  And post whatever picture she chooses. An ABC News outlet said this case “raises free speech questions.”   However, I think the headline on Foxnews.com summed it up very well:  “The First Amendment won’t save you from your own bad judgment.” 

While I understand and sympathize with those who are concerned about our basic freedoms being eroded, there is another freedom we should focus on. It is a freedom more important that freedom of speech. Or political freedom. Or economic freedom. It is the freedom Jesus promised. 

In John 8:32 Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” His Jewish audience disputed Jesus’ claim by saying, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

Jesus response was, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

True freedom is not political, social or financial. True Freedom is spiritual. One may throw off the shackles of a tyrannical dictator, but be shackled to sin, in the clutches of  that spiritual tyrant, the devil.

How many people who live in America, find themselves addicted to some habit that is sapping their mental, emotional and physical strength?

How many enjoy financial freedom, but are enslaved to Satan’s allurements of pleasure, power or prestige?

How many people who advance the cause of political freedom, find they are slaves of their own private lusts?

How many are in bondage to guilt? To shame? To feelings of insecurity? Inadequacy? Worthlessness? Resentment? Anger? Or an illicit relationship they wish they could sever?

True freedom is release from sin’s shackles. Bill Hybels once wrote, “We are all tethered to the stake of our sin.” When the Son makes us free we can shake loose from the bondage of sin’s curse.

True freedom also produces responsibility.  To God. To other believers. To family members. To fellow citizens. Liberty does not give me licence to say what I want.  Or to act in a manner that is offensive, hurtful or detrimental to others.  This is true spiritually and constitutionally.  The late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes has been often quoted as saying that you do not have the right to “falsely shout fire in a theater.”

True freedom produces peace by God’s saving grace. When we accept God’s unmerited favor we enjoy “the peace that surpasses understanding.” Peace, however, is not the absence of pain, problems or pressures of daily living, but the assurance that Jesus is there with us, for us, and in us.

True freedom is joy found in the Faith. In Philippians 1:25 Paul speaks of “the joy of faith.” There is an inner joy that we experience when we accept the Faith and live in harmony with the Faith.

True freedom comes from Christ. Jesus affirmed, “If the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed.” Living a liberating life is all about our relationship with Jesus.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Living, Culture, Freedom

2 responses to “Are You Truly Free?

  1. Richard Williams, Pine Bluff, AR

    Sadly, it is people like Miss Stone who take freedom beyond its intended limits (yes, freedom IS limited, otherwise I could kill someone or steal from someone if that is MY thing to “express” myself) and then cry “foul” when they are called to suffer the consequences of their outrageous, anti-social, immoral, illegal, or crude behavior. These types of people make the legitimate expressions of political, social, and religious criticism more difficult for the rest of us.

    While we have an “inalienable Constitutional right” in this country to freedom of speech, it has long been established that does not give one the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater nor can one commit libel or slander with impunity. Freedom does NOT equate to “no rules” but rather to the ability to freely operate WITHIN an established structure of law.

    This is why the “rule of law” in this country (the Constitution, which is based on biblical principles, and its amendments along with the federal and state legislative structures that govern day-to-day business and life in general) is so vital to our freedoms.

    No, we are NOT free to “do our own thing” when it violates another’s freedoms, sensibilities, and legitimate pursuit of happiness.

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