As a nation we have championed freedom for over two centuries but as of late, I'm afraid we are now preaching a lie. I fear that as a country and a society, we no longer believe in freedom. Oh, we say we do, and we think we do, but when our actions are examined closely, it can quickly be seen that this is all an illusion. Nowhere is this reality more evident than when it comes to the freedom to fail.
We refuse to grant people the freedom to fail anymore. We have conditioned a generation or two that all they have to do is nothing and someone from somewhere will save them from their folly. I sat in a meeting this week were 12 of the most selfless and wonderful people I know discussed for an hour what we could or would do to help two families who completely refused to help themselves out of their situations. I was left wondering why their failure to help themselves was suddenly our problem? Then I turn on the news and see how every year our nation spends billions of dollars all in the hopes of not allowing people, who refuse to succeed on their own, to fail.
Yes, some people need help, and yes we should help them. But there is a fine line between helping and enabling. What about those who don't want to succeed? Shouldn't they be free to make that decision for themselves? If they choose to fail why do we try to stop them? Why do we try to rob them of that freedom? After all, is that not a freedom that God Himself has given us? If I refuse to work or take care of myself, its not like God causes money and food to fall from the sky.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is freedom. He has freed us from the fear of death through His sacrifice, He has freed us from guilt and shame through forgiveness, He has freed us from punishment through His grace, yet we don't want it.
We just don't seem to want freedom. In fact, mankind has never really seemed all that big on it. Every now and then we find a generation that will fight for freedom, but then over time, those who come after tend to slowly give it away again. It's almost like we don't want the responsibility that comes with it. We give away our freedom to kings and governments. We even give it away to religion, rather than seek God on our own, for generations we have simply asked religion to tell us what to believe. Just tell us what to do and we will do it. We want other people to make decisions for us. And why? What is it about humans that we constantly reject this wonderful gift of God?
The problem with freedom is that it is risky. It take guts. Guts to pursue our dreams and risk losing everything in the process. The greatest of ironies since at the end of every life we lose everything anyway. Rather than experience the euphoria of the adventure that accompanies freedom, we trade it for the illusion of safety. The certainty of routine and in doing so we are once again allowing the boa constrictor of oppression to slowly tighten his grip on us. With each little squeeze we rejoice with how much safer we feel in his embrace. We are repeating the cycle of humanity as we yet again reject the gift of God and forsake the freedom He desires for us.