Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Burden of Freedom

To the sinful man, Christian Freedom is a terrible burden. It means that I have to actively show love as best I can - rather than just doing a pro forma act and meeting some divine guideline. It is Freedom - there is freedom of action - oftentimes there is no one "right" thing that God wants you to do - rather a plethora of ways in which to act in a God pleasing way.

A Christian is to operate with the following idea - How do I best show love to my neighbor. One idea is constant there - love. You must love - that is constant. But I and my neighbor change. If I am worn out and stressed, maybe having the difficult conversation that instant isn't the best way to show love given my current fraility - to show love may be to ask to speak about it later. Where am I at, what can I do. What are my strengths and how can I use them to show love? If I am artistic, a neat, hand made card would be great - my mother does that. I wouldn't - because that isn't something that is well done by me - could I do so - certainly, but it isn't the best for me.

Your neighbor changes. Different people need different things - and so how you show them love must change. Different people have different relationships with you, so the love you show them must change. You have different duties to different people - so they deserve differing things. There is no hard and fast rule - no guide book. A person is upset - some I would hug, others I would pat on the back, others I might even yell at to snap them out of it. It depends on the person - my actions have to be tailored towards the person.

This is why people find Christian freedom burdensome. It requires not just love, not just action (hey, I can do an act to prove I'm a good little boy) but knowledge of self (one's own strengths and weaknesses) and knowledge of the neighbor (how they best receive love) - plus knowledge of the situation - and then thinking on how to balance all these.

Quite often this will happen without thinking - just like a baseball player will field a ground ball as simple reaction. But that comes with practice. Likewise showing love - you only get better by practice, by thinking, by being guided and enlivened by the Word of God, by looking at Christ's example. We talk about things becoming second nature - and using your Christian freedom will be - as you learn to beat the old, sinful nature down and use your sanctified reason in the way in which God intended it to be used.


Doorman-Priest said...

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" Phillipians 2.

Doorman-Priest said...

Or even Philippians 2