Great news dear reader. I have discovered How To Be Free. It’s in the Sunday Supplements. Oh, and the Internet.
To save your tender eyeballs, I’ve done all the research for you. Ready?
The path to freedom is this: avoid relationships. Because freedom is about being in control, right? And relationships mean losing control – or sharing it at least. No one wants that.
Here’s some relationships that are sucking out your sweet freedom juice (links in brackets):
Parents: Feeling screwed up? That’ll be your mum. Or dad. Or granny. (According to various sources, parents are to blame for… sexual exploitation (Channel 4), childhood obesity (BBC news), workaholism (The Atlantic), the state of the nation, (The Telegraph) and last but not least, Justin Bieber (yahoo – that’s a site, not a lustful whoop).
Your kids: Children are depleting your food stocks and mental health. (American Psychological Association ‘Parents get a new lease of life when their children leave’)
Spouse: Marriage is slavery. (See Ms Magazine: ‘Is Polygamy Inherently Bad for Women?‘)
Bloody Women: ( NYTimes: “The Threatening Scent of Fertile Women“).
Couch: Couches aren’t people, so you’re probably okay. But you should definitely be aware of this: ‘Is Your Couch Trying To Kill You?‘ (Washington Post)
Friends: Time to cut out your ‘frenemies’. (Unless they cull you first. Loser.) ‘Toxic Friends’, (Psychology Today).
So there we have it. Cut loose from your parents, your children, your spouse, your partner and your friends and presto, you can breath deep the fresh air of freedom. All by yourself.
Let’s think this through.
In order to be free, our culture tells us to take control. This means that we can live our lives the way we see fit – free from any interference. It also spells disaster for those pesky ‘relationships’ and all their demands. After all, people will always let you down. And people might want you to do things you don’t want to do.
The gospel says something very different. The gospel says that freedom isn’t the ability to do as I please. It’s a gift – and it comes in those relationships. Real life comes as we’re united to Jesus, adopted by the Father, filled by the Spirit. That’s our true home, that’s where we thrive and that’s where we’re free. But also, in this Family there will be all kinds of “interference”. We have to die to one sort of control (sin), even as we are given another kind of control (from the Spirit).
Freedom isn’t found in isolation. It’s found in family – God’s Family and church family. It’s found in relationships, mutual service, and (blessed) interference. The Sunday Supplements don’t offer freedom – they offer independence. It’s not the same thing:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free… You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”