Inspired by Galatians 5:1, 13-25
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:13-14 (NRSV)
What is the purpose of freedom? Is it so we can indulge our every whim? If everyone acted that way, would we really be free? Or would we begin to worship our individual rights, defending them at all costs, even to the point of defending our right to behavior that harms those around us? How could we live freely, if we lived in fear of others exercising their freedom at our expense?
God’s vision for the world is one of freedom. He envisions a world in which we are free from fear, free from worry, free from scarcity and exploitation. Such a world can only exist when we can trust our fellow human beings to be just as concerned about our wellbeing as they are about their own, and vice versa.
That’s not the world we live in now. However it is a vision of what the world could be, and those of us who have been freed from sin by the grace of God are called to help make that vision a reality. Those of us who are living under grace are called to use our freedom to help one another. Christian living all boils down to loving others as you love yourself, prioritizing their needs as equal to your own. Not higher, not lower. Equal.
God doesn’t want you to live enslaved to the whims of others; God wants you to live in freedom and love. Consider carefully how you choose to exercise your rights. Do they help ensure the freedom and wellbeing of others? Or do they force others to live in fear of you?
Let us pray. Gracious God, you have given us the tremendous responsibility of freedom. Help us to exercise it wisely, that all may know the glory of living freely under your grace. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.