Can you handle freedom?

Free Happy Woman, Photo 49157481 © Martinmark |

I hope everyone in the United States had a meaningful Independence Day, a day where freedom is the main theme. Let me ask you, though, can you handle freedom? Can humanity handle freedom? Recent events and trends suggest otherwise.

What is the problem?

For all the talk about freedom, what does it really mean, though? It appears many believe freedom is the ability to say and do what you want when you want without any consequences. However, that simply is not possible. I may have the ability to flap my arms, jump off the top of a wall and attempt to fly, but there will probably be some rather painful consequences.

Hasn’t it always been this way? Adam and Eve were free to eat of any tree of the garden except one, and yet which one did they eventually choose? Sodom and Gomorrah were taken captive, but thanks to Abraham they were freed from slavery to other nations. { As a side note, many skeptics take exception to the fact that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but they seem to conveniently overlook the fact that Sodom and Gomorrah only existed because God, through Abraham, freed them from captivity. }

Ancient Israel was freed from Egypt. How did they pay God back? They had freedom, and the Book of Judges should be an example for us today on just how mankind cannot handle freedom. In fact, they begged for a king! They themselves had the realization that they could not handle freedom, but instead of turning to God, they turned to men to lead them.

One of the things God stated as a reason for kicking the Canaanites out of the land was child sacrifice. Yet, ancient Israel and Judah also committed this abomination.

4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them

36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

~Ps 106:4-6, 36-38 (KJV)

Violence filled the earth before the great flood, violence filled ancient Israel, and violence fills our society today. Even in Japan, a respected prime minister was assassinated, and not long ago middle schoolers had destroyed and vandalized a famous art exhibit. Middle schoolers. In Japan. A society that highly values conformity, hard work and respect.

The Washington Post wrote in regards to the assassination of former PM Shinzo Abe:

It’s hard to think of a more unexpected place for this to happen: Japan prides itself on being a safe society. The impact of sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult, nearly 30 years on, still reverberates precisely because such incidents are so rare — shootings in particular. The unsolved 2013 killing of Takayuki Ohigashi, the head of a famous restaurant chain shot outside his company headquarters, still linger in memory. Political assassinations are even more extraordinary: The yakuza-related fatal shooting of the mayor of Nagasaki in 2007 might be the only recent corollary.

Random attacks of violence do occur. Recent years have seen an uptick in such events, such as the mass murder of 26 in Osaka last December, where the suspect set a mental health clinic on fire, killing himself in the process; or the knife attacks on Tokyo’s subways last Halloween, which mercifully resulted in no fatalities.

Uvalde Texas is on a lot of people’s minds, and it was referred to Mr Franks recent member letter. He wrote:

Every Sabbath, it seems, our pastors could stand before their congregations and speak about human tragedies that took place the previous week. There is something unfolding in our country and the world, a pervasive evil that seems beyond anyone’s control. Whether it is due to mental illness or pure depravity, the result is the same—multiple episodes of human suffering and death.

…In recent weeks I have found it extremely sad to see the ever-increasing division and lack of any moral compass in our world. How can anyone decry the deaths of 19 elementary school children and then demonstrate for the right to kill an unborn child?

Yet, people do. They will march in the streets yelling about “my freedoms” and “my rights”. What they really want is to do whatever they want to do with no consequences.

There was a time when homosexuality was at least hidden, even in Hollywood. Hard to believe if you are under 40, isn’t it? We were told they only wanted acceptance. Decades later, we were told they wanted equality. Decades later, we were told they only wanted marriage. In reality, they want power and the ability to shut down all dissenters, and anti-social media is only too willing to oblige them. Now, even the gays are marginalized and trans has become the new rage.

Yes, I chose the word “rage” because that is exactly what you see in the sewer called Twitter. People belittle, bully and dox (search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the internet, typically with malicious intent) each other, often causing harm, even physical in some cases. In the past month, a couple of YouTubers were swatted. Wikipedia defines swatting as “Swatting is a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police or emergency service response team to another person’s address.”

We used to muse over the irony that a school cannot give a kid an aspirin without a parent’s note, yet they can hand out birth control pills like candy. In fact, I remember in school one kid literally got suspended for having aspirin on school grounds. Now, Suzie can change her name and her gender, supposedly, and the parents will never even be notified. If parents find out and object, they are “bigots”. It is really strange that the institutions which used to teach debate and logic, and one of the first rules was name calling was not allowed, but now that is the modus operandi for teachers and even college professors.

I have been listening to the audiobook Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier. It is eye-opening for several reasons, but it also fits in well with the notion that people really think freedom is doing what you want whenever and however you want to do it.

I wonder things I don’t say aloud, too: Whether this transgender craze isn’t partially the result of over-parented, coddled kids desperate to stake out territory for rebellion. Whether it is no coincidence that so many of these kids come from upper-middle-class white families, seeking cover in a minority identity? Or is it the fact that they overwhelmingly come from progressive families—raised with few walls, they hunt for barriers to knock down?

Her emphasis is upon a teenager’s “need” to rebel (whose spirit does that reflect?). However, I noticed the coddling and over-indulgent parenting even before she said it. One girl-turned-trans in her book had her college tuition paid for, her housing paid for, and even after graduation her parents paid for her housing while she could get the job she really wanted. She got everything she wanted. When I read some of the garbage online, I cannot help but think about the helicopter parents of yesterday. Johnny and Suzie were not even allowed to scrape their knee at the playground, and they grew up to be self-indulgent, self-absorbed and not allowed to experience any pain whatsoever, even if it was a spanking for their own good.

Oh, but all you have to do is believe, right? That’s what Walt Disney and company have taught us for years. It’s that “magical thinking” that I bring up from time to time. In fact, people believe they are owed something and don’t even have to work for it as long as they believe it.

Is it any wonder, then, that if someone believes everyone is out to get them and shooting up a King Soopers will make them happy that they would do it? Is it any wonder that someone believes that their happiness is more important than another life, even if it is their own unborn child?

What is the answer?

God has the answers. The Bible contains those answers. God’s laws are there for a reason. Herbert W Armstrong (HWA) often spoke about there are spiritual laws that work a lot like physical laws. If you disobey the law of gravity, you will probably get hurt. Spiritual laws broken hurt as well, although the effects may take longer. He also spoke about the “way of give and the way of get”. Everything I have been describing can be summed up as the way of get. It is the opposite of God’s way of life.

What should we do with our freedom? Jesus said He came to proclaim freedom, so we as believers do have some sort of freedom.

The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about freedom. Ironically, he was arrested many times, run out of town and imprisoned over long stretches of time.

Galatians 5:13

New Century Version

13 My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love.

~Gal 5:13 (NCV)

Christians are free, but we are free to give.

Finally, one quote I’d like to leave you with:

May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.

-Peter Marshall

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