Where Has All the Freedom Gone

We’re living in sad and troubled times. It’s an ugly war out there. You can here the sounds of spades and shovels, hammers and chisels, bricks and mortar. Digging of trenches, building high walls, lobbying verbal grenades and worse. All in the name of freedom? You must be kidding!

Freedom and democracy are being assaulted on every side. It seems they are most touted and valued by whomever is calling the shots, as long as they are in control and wield the power. Within hours of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg another battle flares up like a wildfire about the balance of power in the Supreme Court. Here we go again. Or it could be potential elections in British Columbia or nationally in Canada, or anywhere else in the world.

The point is not whether I agree with every opinion or share another’s political bias, it’s how we create a forum where those differing opinions can be aired, debated, and voted upon with respect and integrity. How we behave when one with whom we disagree has power, and how we lead and rule when we have power? Democracy is no easy thing to handle or administer.

To throw the cat among the pigeons. Christians should be the world leaders in modelling how to value and apply democracy with grace, strength, and even love. Why? Because a Christian is one who has first-hand experience of receiving grace when justice administered fairly would have led to their condemnation and imprisonment. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God, there is not one without sin. In other words we are all guilty of having been on the wrong side of God.

We have ignored Him, flouted His gifts, blatantly disagreed, ignored His guidance, and claimed ignorance when confronted. We have judged others and excused ourselves, we have demanded justice for the misdemeanors of others while pleading mercy and forgiveness for ourselves. We have shrunk faith in God down to political issues of abortion and gender equality as the only things that matter. We could go on describing how much ‘the same’ we are to those who have not met, or do not believe in the God Jesus so humbly and graciously revealed.

We have become so desperate for power that we peddle conspiracy theories that demand more faith to believe in then does the resurrection of Jesus. All in the name of explaining why God is on our side and that we know exactly how He is working and who He supports.

If freedom and democracy are to be restored surely we have to learn again how to disagree with grace and to accept that things will not always go as I would prefer. And yes, they may be totally contrary to how I understand God’s creation, His will for the world, and the many expressions of freedoms and rights that I question and want to challenge.

If I was in charge of the world I would not legislate for most moral choices including abortion, divorce, euthanasia, or gender issues. No matter my personal or Christian view, I would have to advocate for a society of freedom where people have the responsibility (more than the right) to make decisions and choices. However, within that democracy, I would also be advocating that the right to express disagreement is a vital part of the whole package. For instance, gender issues are hot topics passionately promoted and defended. Stand up and disagree and there is hell to pay, names are called, and there is little tolerance for “I don’t agree with you.” The same would be true for many other strongly held views.

It takes inner courage and humility to stand for another even when they are diametrically opposed in their views, merely because they have the same right as you to hold and express their convictions. That’s what the ministry and mission of Jesus was all about. He was never seeking to manipulate people into agreement to establish political peace on earth. He was calling people, one by one, first to Himself, and then to express the values of His Kingdom that is not of this world. He reached out to people of every political persuasion and conviction, he offered hope to all, healing to all, acceptance to all, and would share a meal with all. He went to the Cross for all, suffered for all, forgave all who did not know what they were doing, and His resurrection was for all to see and know.

Democracy and freedom begin on the inside of each of us and have to be expressed outward. They do not ultimately expect or even seek human or political fulfilment. They accept that on earth is not heaven. God loves people not their politics. He doesn’t need Justices in the Supreme Court to accomplish His will. After all the Supreme Court of His day condemned His Son to death. The further from the heart of God we drift the angrier we become, the less tolerant we are, the more harsh the words sound, and the quicker our trigger fingers shoot others down.

I believe Christians are people who are far from perfect and who disagree on many important issues; because we all have much deafness, blindness, and prejudice to contend with. We are a work in progress with many blind spots and half baked ideas. We become intense and lack a sense of humour. We need to love the sinner and hate the sin, within ourselves first and foremost, and then release love to others.

God’s world is a massive and messy democracy. Freedom is granted to all, and we live the consequences of generations of choices multiplied and tangled around the earth among its people. There are many unanswered questions but our hope remains in the timeless revelation of Jesus. A testimony to a God who is personal, patient, and persistent in reaching every person of every political stripe with His presence and love. And that’s one truth we have no say in, do not get to vote on, and there’s nothing democratic about it. Thank God for that!

Freedom comes from the inside and dances whatever – because hope flows down from heaven like a mighty river washing over all. Along its banks true democracy and freedom grow – a gift to all.

Jerusalema ikhaya lami(Jerusalem is my home) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Uhambe nami(Walk with me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Jerusalema ikhaya lami(Jerusalem is my home) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Uhambe nami(Walk with me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me) Jerusalema ikhaya lami(Jerusalem is my home) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Uhambe nami(Walk with me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Jerusalema ikhaya lami(Jerusalem is my home) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Uhambe nami(Walk with me) Zungangishiyi lana(Do not leave me here) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me) Ndawo yami ayikho lana(My place is not here) Mbuso wami awukho lana(My kingdom is not here) Ngilondoloze(Guard me) Zuhambe nami(Walk with me)Show less

John Cox

Offering Pastoral Counselling to encourage, heal, transform, and give hope.

2 comments

  • I have lived and survived an ugly dictatorship been concurred by the democratic nations of the west. Redeemed by the word of God, listened to prophets, read books and scripture till my eyes cramp in my head. But democracy is Greek to me. To often an excuse for the silent majority to hide there lazy arses and then being used by power hungry operators manipulated for there own ends. Of course when bad things happen because of this we are all innocent. I think if you follow the the Lord Jesus and expound His Kingdom to loudly, you going to get nailed, dictatorship or democracy just takes a little longer.

    • Thanks Max. It’s all tough… theory easier than practice….. The Old Testament is a testimony to how it’s impossible to legislate good behaviour and morality from the outside in… even the Ten Commandments. I believe the intention is to reveal to us how much we need the love and power of God alive in our hearts first. What has made matters worse is that people professing the Lordship of Christ have often been worse in power ‘manipulating to their own ends;. Sometimes the way we express our faith is helpful and at other times it comes across so harsh and dictatorial we should be nailed…. not for the message but the presentation.

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