“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” – 2 Peter 2:19 (ESV)
When asked about the definition of freedom, I’m sure people will give all sorts of answers, each according to the way they see, feel, taste or even imagine freedom.
Many will argue that freedom is to be able to live as one would please, free from all external restraint as long as there is no violation of another person’s rights. And theoretically this is a true statement.
To be free is to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want as long as you’re not infringing someone else’s rights, comfort, convenience and freedom.
To some, freedom may be to be out of jail. To some, freedom may be to be 18. To some, freedom may be to live with no rules. To some, freedom may be to have sex. To some, freedom may be to take drugs. To some, freedom may be the end of slavery. To some, freedom may be having basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. To some, freedom may be secularism. To some freedom may be democracy. And the list goes on…
But I think we can all agree that freedom is to be able to live out your rights as a human being with no hindrance from any external factor. And freedom is what every human being wants and must have.
However, does freedom ever come without a price? To me this is what makes all the difference. What is the price you are paying or willing to pay to get the freedom that you want and deserve?
“Do whatever makes you happy” seems to be the general consensus nowadays where everything is judged right or wrong based on personal feelings, comfort and happiness. The pursuit of happiness has become so rampant that we’re really not giving much thought to our actions anymore. “How?” you may say. I’ll tell you how.
What is the price you’re paying for the freedom to smoke or to take drugs? Is it not your own health?
What is the price you’re paying for the freedom to get drunk? Is it not your loss of self-control and posture which you always end up regretting the day after?
What is the price you’re paying for the freedom to have sex? Is it not the feeling of self loathing and disgust the moment you’re done orgasming?
What is the price you’re paying for the freedom to abort? Is it not your guilty conscience that will haunt you forever?
What is the price you’re paying for the freedom to dress provocatively? Is it not your image and reputation?
Is it really freedom when you have to have a cigarette every 15 min or else you will stress yourself out to death? Is it really freedom when you have to have a number of pills to be able to wake up, process and sleep? Is it really freedom when you can only feel “happy” after you get trashed or stoned? Is it really freedom when you can’t stay sane if you don’t have sex or at least masturbate on a regular basis? Is it really freedom to be Pro-choice at the expense of being slave to your guilt for the rest of your life? Is it really freedom to be gay when all you’re looking for deep down is a father’s hug and approval or justice for what’s been done to you as a kid?
In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul says: ““All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” (ESV).
So you see, in theory, everything is permissible for you, but is really everything beneficial? In order for you to practice your freedom, aren’t you in fact sacrificing your own freedom?
So in fact, freedom isn’t being free from all external hindrances to do whatever you want, but freedom is being free from all internal hindrances to do whatever you were originally meant to do.
I’ve always heard the expression “Freedom starts in the mind” and I’ve always believed it to be true. But I think people have got it wrong. When you say freedom starts in the mind, that doesn’t mean you should free your mind from all social, traditional and religious regulations (and I’m not justifying these regulations either), but you should free your mind from what really enslaves you: your desires, needs, feelings, mistakes and unreconciled incidents.
It’s funny how in our blind pursuit of happiness and freedom, we actually end up hurting ourselves the most and sacrificing both our happiness and freedom.