Freedom – that word’s been knocking around in my head for a week or so now. Been trying to work out its particular application to me and to my life. I live in a country careless in its abundance and I am grateful for the gifts and the freedoms it affords me. Not the least being the freedom to live and work within a belief system that is opposed on many levels to that espoused by most Australians, both of the religious and non-religious sort.
I hope in God’s mercy to be eternally grateful for the freedom that I enjoy in Christ; a freedom to live by love and not by law. A freedom which, like all freedoms, is not without cost. A preparedness to sacrifice the needs of self was necessary for the one who won us this freedom, and those of us who seek to walk in his footsteps must also be prepared to sacrifice our own needs for those of others.
So then, I begin to believe that freedom is not some basic human right, but something that has been paid for in blood and sweat and tears. And if I wish to take advantage of the freedoms that have been won for me by countless others, and by the Son of God himself, then I must also be prepared to pay the price.
How I do that must be determined by the circumstances I find myself in and by a continual examination of motive – Who is this in the best interests of? Who will this help? Who will this hinder?
And then I think about freedom in a very personal sense. I have always felt free to share myself with pretty well anyone I meet. I am not confined to my internal self. I share my thoughts, my emotions and my self analysis freely. I am not careful of myself. I do a lot of thinking and I do a lot of thinking out loud with others. I speak as I think. Sometimes what I say today has further evolved by tomorrow, and I sometimes wonder (not worry), what the people yesterday must have thought! I don’t have secrets; I am an open book, and I have been known to share the dark places along with the light and the joyful. This way of being has never hurt me. I am attracted to many people and they to me, and I’ve made good friends and bad friends in lots of places. All grist to the mill – added experience, added knowledge, added wisdom perhaps.
But I also know that what hasn’t hurt me, has sometimes hurt others. Things that I have said, experiences I have shared, have encouraged or ‘allowed’ others to think and act in ways which have hurt. Am I my brother’s keeper? Well, yes . . . I need to examine the impact of my words on others and if I wish to be free in my thinking and my sharing of myself, then I need to be prepared to sometimes curtail that freedom in the interests of others - Who is this sharing in the best interests of? Who will this sharing help? Who will this sharing hinder?
I think it’s about tenor and tone and it’s about audience. I don’t feel a need to be careful of myself – but I do need to be careful of others.
And I have the freedom to do that!

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