For me,the American flag flying in the wind, a soaring eagle or a Harley Davidson roaring down the road-sum up the sense of Freedom and Liberty. Camping. Out in the mountains, out in open areas where there's nothing boxing you in, makes me feel so free! As most of you know, one of my very favorite statements from Scipture says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty! I love freedom. I value it so much. And I look for it, not only in politics and nations, but in spiritual and emotional life.
Some people believe they have freedom, and don't realize the prison they've created for themselves. Being rebellious and doing wrong isn't real freedom. and abandoning your beliefs and principles isn't real freedom. Real freedom is just being free.
I see some folks who claim to be free because they've separated from some individual or group who is, or is perceived to be controlling or manipulating. They feel they have fought back, escaped, and are now free. If so, good for them! But let's look at what true freedom is all about. When you are liberated in mind, soul and body-it bears certain fruits. Just like flying down the road on your Harley Davidson with the wind in your hair, your new-found freedom will be EXHILERATING!!! Is what you're experiencing exhilerating you and filling you with sincere enjoyment, or are you full of anger, resentment, rage and paranoia?
When first standing up to any injustice it is totally natural to have some anger and zeal. But Jesus wasn't making stuff up when He told us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and overcome evil with good! He told this to us for OUR sake because He knew it would save us from the poison of hate/rage/bitterness that will literally get in your bones and destroy you. You will NEVER see Jesus condoning evil behavior and He is NOT asking us to, we should stand up against wrong but we should be vigilant not to lose our own souls in the process and become what we think we are fighting.
You want to experience freedom? When you can look into the face of someone who has profoundly hurt you and love them, you will be free indeed! Nothing can hurt you, when the natural pangs of fear and anger and resentment just don't seem to come. The love of Jesus is a vaccination that makes us immune to the damage that our enemies can do to our hearts. They can't make us hate them! They CANNOT hold that big of a place in our hearts ANYMORE-the only thing they can take from us now, is pitty!
Jesus tells us not to judge. And again, He didn't say that just because He likes the sound of His own voice. We MUST leave the judging to Him because when we condemn others, we're bringing ourselves into condemnation. Why? Because Jesus knows the truth-that we're just as guilty as the ones who've hurt us whether we admit it or not. We like to compare ourselves with ourselves and justify ourselves but the fact is if Jesus can forgive me, I must forgive others. And who will be blessed because of it? Me! This is all for my good so I can be free and sleep at night!
I know I will let myself down. I know I find myself judging others at times. But I am going to make this new understanding of forgiveness a part of my life from now on and let the blessings flow. I'm going to follow the principle of overcoming evil with good and blessing my enemies and praying for my persecutors.
It is easy to be misunderstood here. In NO way does this mean that you should not set up healthy boundaries. In no way does it mean you should expose yourself to unsafe or unacceptable behavior. It simply means you will not hate, spread resentment, hold grudges, condemn etc. True love must be tough love AT TIMES but never abandon love for hate or stop seeing things through God's eyes. God sees us all as the same, creations who He has come to seek and to save. Pettiness, envy, hate, covetousness, and bitterness that can eat a human being alive, will have no power over the Christian who is full of Christ's love & compassion. Would to God that we would understand this by the illumination of the Holy Ghost. Amen.