Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating “freedom.” With Memorial Day, we remembered those who died in military service for our freedom. As I walked on the streets of Cuba, this month, I couldn’t help but think of the lack of freedom in the lives of the good people that lived there. When we watch the news and hear about the oppressed around the world, a voice rises up in us and calls out to the captives, “Fight! Fight for your freedom!” It is a longing in every one of us, in every aspect of life- to always be free.
It is interesting that the opposite of free is exactly what it is- costly. Every time an individual enjoys the luxury of freedom, the mind must go back. There was a cost somewhere; a payment made, along the way, to purchase that freedom- a transaction that would catapult into the future lives of others- affecting them on a daily basis. Someone, at some point, paid for each freedom that is possessed.
We see that in our own country. The cost of freedom has been high. The Memorial Foundation reports that, “Since 1776, over one million Americans have secured the blessing of liberty through their lives.” They also point out that 42 million Americans have served their country in time of war. Freedom is costly.
Webster defines freedom as a noun: “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace is fighting for the freedom of his country, Scotland. At the end of the movie, he has been captured by England and is being tortured to death. Legend says that in the last agonizing moments of his life, he, ironically, cries out, “Freedom!!!” for all to hear. He is shackled and imprisoned but his heart is free because he has lived honorably. As a result of his sacrifice, his countrymen are inspired and fight to eventually take their country back from England’s “enslavement” of them.
Take a moment to watch this scene: Braveheart – FREEDOM – Y#3299DC
In our contemplation of freedom, there is One that trumps them all- the ultimate and final freedom. The eternal freedom that Christ gave to us through dying on the cross,
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
God recognized that no matter how hard we were to fight for physical freedom, we would never truly experience spiritual freedom from sin without His sacrifice. Even in the days of Christ, the throngs were so focused on freedom from Rome that they didn’t see the One, before their very eyes, that could grant them freedom from every kingdom and dominion.
Christ recognized that physical freedom was temporary but spiritual freedom was eternal. We need to remember that too as we share the Good News of the Gospel- the news that brings freedom to every facet of a person’s life, despite the physical strongholds they may find themselves in- whether it is a communist country, a prison cell, a wall street desk or a down town park bench- each one of us is invited to receive and experience the ultimate freedom that only Christ can give.
Jesus declared the war to be over when He said from the cross, It is finished.
Freedom is now at hand,
Brice Maddock, COO Teen Challenge Southeast