The Moral Virtue of Liberty

Although this topic deserves deep exploration above so many others, all I have time and energy for here is to share what the Lord has been showing me on this today.

When you and I talk about liberty, the reaction we often get, whether from others or even within our own polluted conscience, is that of mild contempt. “The notion of liberty is somewhat passe don’t you know, and what about the homeless? Don’t you believe we should put the interests of others above our own gain?” In today’s lost culture, “freedom” and “liberty” have become code words for selfish pursuit, exploitation, and disregard for the needs of others. Why is this the case? In short, it is a vital building block of collectivism. When the goal is the needs of the group over that of the individual, which always results in the exaltation of an elite class or single leader within the group btw, a new morality that despises liberty becomes a necessity. It doesn’t matter if the group is a political body or a local church. Collectivism’s moral demands can be motivated in any combination of mysticism, politics, greed or creed.

In contrast to this, Jesus came announcing Himself as the bringer of two things to the people — Healing and Freedom. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set oppressed people free” (Luke 4: 18-19a). When you look at how He delivered on these, He always did it to individuals. The love of the crowds will come and go with each passing day. One day they exalted Jesus as Messiah, the next day they shouted “Crucify him” out of collective interest. But an individual set free from oppression comes to a place where motivation is transformed. The intimate knowledge of the truth is miraculously liberating — that YOU ARE LOVED OF GOD. YOU is an operative word here. Not you as a cog in a wheel, nor as a role player on the team, nor as a citizen in a country, nor as a member of a church, but as an intimately beloved child of the MOST HIGH.

This is how Jesus transforms us to where we can love others, because He first loved us. Before we can love others, we must first love Him, putting aside all other loyalties, oaths and treaties. Then we become free as God intended us to be. From that first love, we can love others in a way that will best help them. Only then can we respect their own free will and their individual journey before God. Only as we are set free ourselves can we lay down our defaulted demands we place on others. We can see the image of God in them… past the sin and other behaviors we would otherwise be tempted to judge. We can offer them a pure liberty they never see from religious people (like I was for years), as doing so is to represent not only the mandate of Christ, but Christ Himself. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty” (2 Cor 3:17)

So, without further any reinforcement with my words, we must conclude, as scripture does, that freedom is an end unto itself. “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.” (Gal 5:1). And, we must also conclude that liberty is our natural and desired state before God. A state for which He died and rose again. A state of being sons and daughters vs being subjects or mere members.

Liberty is a moral virtue and an imperative gift from God that we must pursue for ourselves, our families, and all whom we ever hope to sincerely love. Without it, the fruits of our efforts will be our own control, which is always, despite the best intentions, just our own brand of oppression.

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