I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to be free. Specifically, free from the control (presumed or real) of others. To be free from the opinions and limitations from the collective and resist the pressure to conform with the collective.
I’ve been feeling the need to grow beyond where I am at; that there is more to me than what I currently am. I have also been feeling scared to do so, because of what others might say or think about me, if I do.
Being a follower of Jesus is hard these days. There is so much stigma surrounding the Christian faith; rightly so, when you think about all of the hatred, crime and greed (both past and present) committed in Jesus’ name. But should we discount what Jesus said, just because of what has been done in his name? I also want to say, I get it. I personally don’t go to church, because because the thought of the religion makes my skin crawl.
Let’s be honest, most Christians are only concerned with converting people in order to save their souls, and they do so by using fear. They also display the number of their converts proudly, like a head-hunter would display his shrunken heads. “How many souls have you saved today, Brother”. This is a concept I don’t understand. Jesus didn’t talk about converting people, but simply instructed his apostles to teach his message to those who would listen, and if they didn’t, the apostles were to dust off their feet and move on (Matthew 10:14). And just to clarify my position even further, I believe in what Gandhi said, about many paths to God. I believe that there is only God, and that nobody has the right to tell someone how to seeking and find God.
The more I study and put into practice Jesus’ method of finding inner peace and realizing that we are made up of God, and as such we have all the power and abilities that God possesses (Romans 8:11), the more aliened I feel. I feel aliened, because most people don’t believe this (especially Christians) and they’re afraid of this truth and of the power they actually possess. I cannot help but think of myself in the same situation as Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
The image that has been coming into my mind is that of a pit. The pit in which you think you are not worthy, stupid, wrong, a fool, or worse, a sinner. For those Christians out there who have condemned themselves as sinners, I turn to Romans 7:6. More importantly, I Corinthians 10:23 “All things are legitimate and permissible – and we are free to do anything we please, but not all things are helpful, constructive or edifying”. In other-words, WE ARE FREE!
As far as I have come, I am realizing I am still in the pit with everyone else; though I am in the process of scaling the wall. I am climbing out of the pit, and from below the collective has been crying out that I’ve gone to far. That it’s dangerous and wrong to go any further. The pull to return to the bottom of the pit with the others, has been strong. I am at a turning point and I need to make a choice. I want to be fully-free and come into my fullest potential. That means ignoring the fear-based cries and opinions of others. It means loving myself and proceeding forward; leaving them behind. Does this make me a horrible person? No!
We are not meant to “save” others, but to be “witnesses” in the world. We are meant to be free; examples that freedom has been bestowed upon us. The very fact that I am climbing out of the pit is proof that others can to do it too. When we live our fullest lives and are true witnesses in the world, you never know who you might inspire and “save” from the pit.