I know what you are thinking and that is not what I mean. I grew up with movies that were "cut" and books that were banned and propaganda that was distributed all in an attempt to control a nation. Been there, done that and no t-shirts were allowed because we were not supposed to know it was happening.
Today, my mind is chasing thoughts about what it means to be free and what it means to censor our words for the sake of others simply because we follow Jesus.
I have dabbled in this topic a little before but left it quickly because it is complicated. But, today as I sat on my patio baking in the sun, I found myself back here and so it triggered this blog post. I do not believe that we are ever free. Ever. As long as we are in relationship with other people. Sheesh, I know it is not the American way or even the Freedom in Christ way. But, at least for me, and I'm responsible for me, I think its true.
Here is what I mean. If I was free I could express my thoughts as I think them. I could say what I think and feel whenever the situation arises. I could act on how I feel as I desire. I could put my wants, desires and needs ahead of others. I could rant and offend with no consequences.
However, I don't get to act that way. I don't get to act that way because of relationship. Relationship with Jesus and relationship with the people I love and frankly those that I just tolerate, too. I do not get to say whatever I like because words have power and the consequences are way bigger than my need to vent or rant. I do not get to act on every feeling I have, even the ones that at times feel like they are going to overwhelm me. I just don't get to do it because other people's lives are at stake.
Yesterday a friend and I were talking about allowing people to express how they feel in a public forum and we were weighing how open a given site should be. It raised an issue that is connected to this. We are not even free to stand by and let others get hurt. Again, because of relationship we have to stand on the side of those being marginalized.
And so, freedom takes on a different meaning inside of relationship. We are free to lay down our lives for the sake of others. Free to censor our words. Free to limit our anger. Free to behave our way to holiness. Free to deny our desires and wants.
I believe this with all my heart. Today, I don't like the cost.