Our 19 year-old daughter Molly is incredibly gifted, talented and caring. And, she is also very independent. She is at a place right now where she does not like to take advice, especially if it comes from her parents (gee, I've never been there! Kidding).
Right now she is in Florida with her uncle and aunt (my sister) and their four young boys. She was asked to go along to help watch the boys which will give my sister a little bit of a break.
Before leaving, my wife Connie suggested to Mol that she take sunscreen with SPF 30 in it to help prevent a sunburn. Molly said something like, "No, I'm going to take 15. I'm sure that'll be fine."
Well...Connie received a call after day one or two and Molly was not feeling well at all. She is very burned and has what she thinks is sun poisoning.
Connie, to her credit has been very loving toward Mol throughout this. No, "I told you so" attitude at all which is very cool. Probably because she, like our daughter, didn't like advice when she was that age either.
I'm not sharing this to bash my daughter, because I have nothing to bash. I've done all this before myself...many times. Like Molly, I learn best through my experiences and failures. The reason I bring all this up is because this got me thinking about freedom.
When we are teenagers we often feel that our parents are just telling us the way to do certain things because they want to restrict our freedom. Many Christians and non-Christians feel the same way...that the Bible, the Word of God, is simply there to put restrictions on us and to limit our freedom.
In both cases, it is exactly the opposite.
Parents typically share input to provide more freedom to their children. This of course isn't seen readily by the children until they are older, but it's the truth. In Molly's case, she probably viewed it as exercising her freedom to put on the sunscreen of her choosing. And that is a form of freedom. However, what she has discovered is that this has actually lessened her freedom. Now, she must cover up and limit her time in the sun because of her exercising her perceived "freedom." The recommendation of my wife on sunscreen was really to provide more freedom for Molly.
Same with the Bible. Jesus came, not just to save us, but to give us life to the full. The Biblical mandates of how to live life are there, not to restrict us, but to give us true freedom.
"Free" sex has not caused true freedom. It has caused millions of cases of sexually transmitted diseases. It has created millions of broken homes and hearts.
"Free" use of alcohol and drugs has not brought freedom. It has caused millions of deaths and broken lives...and homes. I know some addicts who tell me regularly that they feel like they're in a prison.
The same is true for everything that we choose to do on our own that goes against God's mandates for us. Unfortunately, just like Molly and me, many of us will need to find that out on our own.
True freedom can only be found in one place...in the One who came to give it to us.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
The words of Jesus, John 10:10b