Recognition: The First Step
Somebody once said that the first way we contribute to injustice is to choose not to see it. It’s a good point. And I’d also suggest that the first way we contribute to our own oppression is to choose not to see it. Many people in places of oppression suggest that not dealing with it is easier than dealing with it. This is true for the short-term. You can imagine the big speech that William Wallace gives to his scared Scottish friends facing the professional formal army of the English… ‘Fight and you may die. Run and you may live – for a while, as a slave. But lying in your beds 20 years from now, wouldn’t you give all your years from this one to that one for just one chance to fight for your FREEDOM?’
The question is, do we long for freedom? And do we even know what freedom looks like?
If we’ve been defining our freedom by the world's standards (economic prosperity, scenic beautiful living rooms of perfection, the perfect body, success etc…) then how do we know when we’ve become enslaved in the ‘culture’ of the world. It’s most likely when we look back and realize that more than 2/3 of our lives were spent working for the money to spend on the perfect life that left us empty and longing for something more… But by that time, we think an affair and a hot vehicle will satisfy the ache (because that’s what the world tells us) and we throw away our family, home, and deep relationships for something quick, easy and emotionally shallow. And again, it’s not until it’s too late that we realize that too was another lie – rooting us further in our own oppression.
Recognising oppression is half the battle.
So, I ask myself. Where is my definition of freedom coming from?
What is it?
For me it looks like abandonment, and surrender. I understand from the scriptures that a deeply surrendered life leads to freedom. Freedom to be who God says I am. Freedom to say yes to God no matter the consequences. Freedom to challenge the ‘norm’ and question the ‘normal’ and live a different way. Freedom to not even care what my neighbours think but to invite them to join the Kingdom party. Freedom to use my recourses freely – instead of hoarding them and locking myself into a life of protectionism of epic proportions (locks, alarms, more locks, secret codes, secret banks etc…).
I’m looking for a freedom found in Christ. With no ownership He lived a meaningful and colourful life. Not owned by anyone, except His Father – He was ultimately free to say yes to God all the time.
I’m aiming for that kind of freedom and I recognize that this world I live in does not promote that kind of freedom. And I’m beginning to recognize that I have a need. What a great step towards the way I was truly born to live.