I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately. Freedom tied to privilege; Freedom of speech; Freedom of choice; Freedom to marry. It’s been in the news, in conversation, and its definition has felt a bit divisive lately.
It’s interesting to think that, just about 250 years ago, our freedoms were literally a revolutionary idea. That the idea of giving (white landowning men) a list of freedoms was so out of the norm, a war was fought over it. (Well, and a lot of other things, but it’s more romantic to think of our War for Independence in those terms…)
I think there’s a tension in living with these freedoms, though. While I am incredibly grateful to live in a country where my status as an educated woman grants me so many freedoms, I find the balance of holding tight to those freedoms and loving my neighbor a difficult one to achieve.
I believe that the number one commandment of the Bible is to love our neighbor. From Micah 6:8’s “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God” message to Jesus’ repeated themes of loving God and loving neighbors, of loving the poor, of remembering the last will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, I see the message of love – not freedom – being preached over and over.
I’m not sure these two ideas have to be exclusive, but I do wonder if, when we are so worried about our freedoms being taken away, we forget to love. And I wonder how that would look – if we focused on love rather than freedom.
How do you view freedom? How do you find the balance between celebrating freedom and loving your neighbors?
Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.