2010-09-17

Freedom and Its Myth of More Freedom is Better

Freedom is such an interesting word. A word of contradiction. Freedom to choose is the basic right. Remove it, the right to choose freely, and love has no meaning. Yet the very act of loving someone will result in narrower scope of freedom. A happily married person has less freedom than a unmarried man. Yet, the married man has happily exchanged his greater scope of freedom for something better, the love and care and committed relationship with his wife. Commitment, trust worthiness, the ingredients for relationships is usually achieved at the willingly narrowing the scope of freedom. I can freely leave but I choose to stay because something, the relationship, is more important than the freedom to leave.

Hence, "More Freedom = Greater Happiness" is a myth. We need freedom to start but seeking more freedom alone will not bring us happiness but chaos and stress of insecurity.

True Freedom in found with Boundaries
A key reason is Freedom must be defined within a context. Man does not live alone. My freedom to move my hands is restricted by the boundary of your body. My right of freedom ends when I touch you boundary. Within the boundaries of others, I have my freedom. Boundary needs not just be your body, but includes your possessions, and also your thinking and beliefs and your right of freedom too. So we discover that "True Freedom in found with Boundaries". Violating the boundaries also means loosing our right of freedom. To be truly freed, we need to find the boundaries. Another way of saying it is "Freedom comes from knowing the Truth".

Freedom comes from knowing the Truth
In John 8:32, Jesus told us that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. Where is the truth? Or like Pilate, most people will ask. "What is truth?" John 18:38. The answer is actually found in the preceding verse, 8:31 "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed". The way to truly know, experience first hand, of the truth, is to follow and continue in Jesus' words - or in today terms, the Bible or even more specifically, the Laws, summarized as loving God and loving others as oneself. So, the Laws are given so that we may know the truth, lively rightly, and continue to have our freedom to act and not be in bondage of sins,. We can heartily agree with James(Jas 2:12 ) that the Laws should be rightly called the Laws of Liberty - following them preserves our freedom.

It is important to note that it is not just about knowing the Bible but in following and living in the Bible's teaching that we can know the Truth and be freed. Head knowledge alone is not true knowing. True knowing is with the heart and it takes the will to act out the head knowledge and thereby prove with conviction what the truth it. There is about the level of talking swimming and the deeper level of real swimming the water.

Lies Bind Us - Cause us to Loose our Freedom
Not knowing the truth, and believing in lies, will lead us to bang our heads against walls in the exercising of our freedom or more likely, the lack of exercising our freedom to try new things due to our fear. People who are addicted, who are trapped in co-dependency relationships, continue to suffer the abuses, because of the lie that one cannot get out or live independently. See Christian Transformation & Growth -The Unified Model more details.

Truth of Relationships
We are created to have healthy relationships with God and with fellow men. Healthy relationship starts with willing choice of freedom, but are build with trust and commitment at the expense of giving out of one's span of freedom to spend on the other willingly. Happier and joyful relationship is gained with increase investment of time and resources in the relationship. It is in respecting the rights and life of the others.

The Secret of Freedom & Happiness - Not more freedom but more commitment
The key to freedom and happiness therefore lies not in seeking more freedom, but in knowing the truth, a life of relationship and righteousness, and committing to living rightly and in the process we gain happiness and enhances our freedom to act! It is not more span of freedom, but a narrower commitment! May you discover the truth of true freedom and pursue righteous commitment to Jesus and His words.

Pursuing Righteousness as the highest priority of life is not just found in the Bible, but also in the Ancient Chinese Classic:

The fundamental principle is seeking after Truth and persevere in Righteousness and keeping purity. --- From Outcome Based Strategies – The Teaching of I-Ching.

The Western world seeks Freedom. The Chinese seek Righteousness, law and order, more than freedom per se. Don't believe in the Devil's lie of more freedom. Believe in the Bible of Knowing Jesus Christ and be transformed to live in righteousness and thereby be freed.

See If Adam knows I-Ching, he would not have sinned on how to be freed and also Obedience Brings Freedom

Related posts on freedom:

2 comments:

Robert said...

Excellent article! Your explanation of freedom was both simple and eloquent. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about people looking for happiness is when they seek out freedom when really they should be seeking out truth. Like you said the married man appears to be less free than the single man, but by freely subjecting himself to the goos of his family he has found something greater that the selfish freedom of doing whatever you want. It is a selfless freedom of living God's plan for us. People expect to be happy once something happens, once they get a promotion, once they make a sports team, once they get a girlfriend, but happiness is all about living the choices you make. http://www.capturinghappiness.com/changing-lanes/ does a good job of explaining it.

Lim Liat said...

Thanks Robert for your comment and your link. Agreed. Freedom is very self-centered. Happiness is not waiting for it to happen but a choice to start with now.