When I was younger, I had the burning desire of most kids.
To be an adult, free from parental controls and restrictions.
Free to be me, doing what I wanted to do. Without getting into trouble.
Which is why children don’t rule the world. There’s wisdom to be found in experience that young people often ignore. When entitlement raises its ugly head, wise thinking often is marginalized. Or invisible.
Freedom is so full of meaning and hope. To many, it’s the right to do as they please. To others, it’s carte blanche to satisfy their desires without thought of anyone else..
Freedom without boundaries is no freedom at all. It’s chaos and selfishness. A me-centered way of thinking that disregards the value of others.
Being the oldest, my twin and I always seemed to bear the burden of family directives and responsibilities. Rules were rules, and though we may have carried a few more than the others, we all had limits placed on what we could and couldn’t do.
Boundaries aren’t limited to children. As adults we understand that there are proper ways to behave and ways that will hurt others and ourselves. It’s why we have laws.
Before becoming a parent, I was concerned with what was necessary to attain what I wanted. I cared about those I loved, but they weren’t always part of the equation.
For a parent to allow children the freedom to do whatever they choose is as foolish as jumping out of an airplane with no parachute because someone wants to fly.
If I truly care about those I love, I’ll give them freedom–with limits. Until children are wise enough to make choices that won’t hurt them or others, there’s a need for limitations. As adults we need to be reminded of what is good and what isn’t. For our sake and the sake of others.
True freedom can’t be focused on my desires only. If we lived in a perfect world where everyone got along and no one was ever in danger of being hurt by someone else’s poor choices, then personal freedom might look different.
We don’t live in a perfect world. We tend to hurt one another with our choices, words, and attitudes.
True freedom, then, must be based on truth, of what is, not what is desired. On the reality of life and not the philosophies of those who choose to create their own truth. And love, because caring about who we live with and around changes life’s dynamic.
Jesus is Truth and Love. He claimed we would find true freedom in Him who is Truth. Understanding His love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy will free us up from self-centeredness and pride where all we want to do is fuel our desires and demands.
We are not the center of the universe.
Wisdom and truth are the foundation for freedom. Love reinforces them. Knowing there is a right way to treat people and a way that will harm others just to forge ahead with our own plans is the struggle we face.
Independence Day is past, but freedom is something we wrestle with every day. Do we seek our own self-indulgence, ignoring the danger to others? Or do we live in understanding that there is a right and wrong way to do things?
Which freedom will you choose?