Saturday, March 7, 2015
The Free Man
Let's face it - we all know that slavery is evil and freedom is good, right? But wait, maybe too much freedom is bad. Or, perhaps, a little slavery is good. Wait. That's not right. Oh, I don't know. I can't ever keep track from one minute to the next which is politically correct today. Human nature is so good at changing its collective mind that I can never keep it straight!
As school children we were all introduced to the evils of slavery. Our history books were filled with chapters dedicated to educating our young minds to embrace our freedoms while eschewing slavery in all its forms. Ironically, we learned that slave owners were "bad" at the same time that we learned that our slave-owning government was "good".
We can all agree that the slave owners of the South were bad, right? We can agree that the only decent thing to do was to give the slaves their liberty, right? But what if? What if a few of the slaves were prone to violence? Would it still be good to give them their freedom? What if a few were rapists? Thieves? Murderers? Would the slave owner still be right in giving them their liberty? What if one of those slaves was Adolf Hitler? Osama Bin Laden? Charles Manson? Would the "Master" still be righteous in giving those men their freedom or would he then be an accomplice to unspeakable atrocities? Would the slave owner be "good" for refusing freedom to Hitler, Bin Laden and Manson, in spite of slavery being evil?
We can't have it both ways. As humans we judge a matter depending upon circumstances, upon current philosophical trends and upon shifting social opinion. We expect freedom at all costs - until something bad happens - and then we turn on the very authors of the freedoms we claim - and require accountability for their atrocities against humanity! We hold others responsible for our evils - simply because they granted the freedom that we demanded. In our double mindedness, we expect to retain our freedoms while blaming others for the inevitable consequences of that freedom.
Our duplicity doesn't stop with the relationship with our fellow man. It is brought into sharp focus every time we hear the refrain "how could a "good" God allow bad things to happen?". What we consider a virtue in man (not keeping slaves) we consider an evil in God (why did you allow that to happen?). We want the freedom to believe how and what we want but we still hold God accountable when things don't go according to our plan. When evil runs rampant, it is God we blame. Never do we blame ourselves for the very freedom of conscience that God granted us at birth. Would we rather have God keep us as slaves, never to make decisions for ourselves? Is that the price that we would be willing to pay for a secure, safe, evil-free world? Slavery, my friends, is the only answer for a world without hurt, a world without evil.
Bad things happen. Evil people do evil things. Life is imperfect and unpredictable. But God loved us enough to give us our freedom. No. Matter. The. Cost. God had every right to program us for a perfect, sinless life. But He chose to give us our free will - freedom. And because of God's gift of freedom to me, I will fight with everything in me to secure that freedom for my fellow man. We are not slaves. God is not a slaveholder.
I am a free man. I will use my freedom to fight for yours.