Thursday, April 7, 2016

Limiting Our Freedom

I have six daughters, five sons and two grandsons. I have experienced a lot of things in and through this small tribe. Yet, they continue to surprise me.

Yesterday my wife came in to say that she had it with my 11 year old son. He is a great boy but he is a typical boy; he is loud and full of energy. Lately, when we have to correct him, he uses the argument, "I'm not free to be me". Yesterday, he was disturbing his siblings. We homeschool through a great Christian school online and part of the day they all have to concentrate to complete their studies. But this one son was disturbing the others by exercising his freedom to be "me".

I explained to him that I love him just as he is; that I am glad God made him just as he is. I told him he is free to be who God made him to be but there are times, because of love, we limit our freedom for the sake of other people.

He didn't quite understand.

I explained that we are instructed in the Bible that we have been given freedom in Jesus, but because of love, we will need to curb our freedom when our freedom brings harm to a brother or sister:

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. (Galatians 5:13)

Paul follows this with one of the foundational characters that has been birthed in us:

All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. (v. 14)

I explained to my son that because he loves his brothers and sisters, he will choose to limit his freedom for their sake. This is a tough lesson even for mature adults.

My son took this lesson and went upstairs. A while later he asked my wife what it feels like to be saved. She told him it can be different for different people; some feel great joy at the revelation of Jesus' love for us, others might feel great relief and peace for the forgiveness of their sins. He asked her if it ever feels different in the body because suddenly his heart was tingling. She reminded him that he had already accepted Jesus but he told her that he was now old enough to understand, so he made the decision again, just then.

I seems that, as I spoke to my son, he was given a revelation of love and that revelation provoked him to desire that love in a tangible way. My 11 year old son honestly and openly accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, on his own, with no mediator and no coach. And we have been witnessing the authenticity of this decision by the actions he has been taking ever since.

May we all respond to Jesus' love in this same manner, that we would live lives of sacrificial love for the sake of others.

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