Freedom In A Straitjacket

A straitjacket is a garment made of strong material and designed to bind the arms, as of a violently disoriented person (see picture above) . In another words, it is anything that severely confines, constricts or hinders.

The writing is inspired from ‘The Reason for God’ by Timothy Keller. I totally agree with him when he said that Christianity is a straitjacket. Taking from my personal experiences, Christianity has taken away my freedom to liberate me even more. Wait! What? How can liberation happens when freedom is taken away?

What about love?

Let us talk about love as an analogy. A Vietnamese monk said these profound words:

In true love, you attain freedom.

It is truly liberating to fall in love. It means to say that we passionately give a part of our lives to the person we choose to love. We give up our precious time for them. We unselfishly serve them without expecting anything in return. We give what we can, for them to feel how much we love them. We learn to submit. We give up personal choices for the sake of theirs.

Yet there is one important criteria for a love – relationship to work. All parties should have a mutual consideration of each other. Both parties shall lose independence and instead be subjected to one decision. It is summarised to this:

 I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you even though it means a sacrifice for me. – The Reason for God

If love is not mutual and only one party is adjusting, changing, serving and sacrificing, it is not fair, and oppressive which is not the true meaning of freedom and of love.

What about God?

Christianity is indeed a straitjacket! It goes against the meaning of freedom and love. Following Christ means, giving up social vices, following the sermons, taking time to read the Bible and doing quiet time. Whatever we do, it should be according to His will, it should be God’s way, it should be according to the Bible. It hinders us from doing the things that we want and like, if it is against His standards.

It is not fair. He will not adjust for us. He will not serve us. All these things is just about Him.

But the truth is that 2000 years ago, he adjusted for us.  We have sinned and tried to hide from Him but He pursued us relentlessly. He can be just and punish us but He did not.

He changed for us. He is God. But He came down on earth to become like us. He became man in Jesus Christ and He lived like us.

He served us. True service is when a person does not wait for others to ask and just do a favor. He substituted Himself for us. We did not even ask for it.

He sacrificed for us. He died on the cross so that by believing in Him we can be forgiven.

What about loving God and still have freedom?

God’s love for us is so radical that He defy the simplest criteria about mutuality for love to work.

We love because he first loved us. -1 John 4:19

Love and freedom from God is perfectly written in this verse:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. -2 Corinthians 5:14-15 

The love of Christ constrains. Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, you aren’t afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in Him. -The Reason for God


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