The issue of human trafficking is right at the forefront of many people’s minds at the moment. It’s in the press, in our churches and all over twitter. It’s right that we are constantly reminded of those 27 million people currently in slavery. Let’s be part of the solution in setting them free.
But, this has made me wonder about freedom. I wonder what freedom is really meant to look like? What does it mean to really be free?
I reckon if you asked a few different people, they’d all have a different answer:
For some people, freedom is having the means to do whatever they want – freedom of finances.
For some people freedom means not having to work, leaving them the space to be leisurely – freedom of time.
For some people freedom means having finished their exams (!) and having a long summer break – freedom from pressure and burden.
For some people it means release from past wounds and hurts – freedom from the burden of pain.
For some it is a visit from a friend that releases freedom from loneliness.
Then there are those many millions around the world, for whom freedom simply means being allowed to go home – to be free from the farm, sweatshop or brothel. To be free from the illegal financial burden that traps them in their prison. To be free from the people who oppress, sell and abuse them.
In this world freedom means many and varied things…but we who follow Jesus have, ultimately, once-and-for-all been set free. That day that Jesus took our punishment and shame; that day that Jesus bore the weight of our wrongdoing; that day Jesus was separated from the Father for the first time in eternity to take our punishment. That day bought us our ultimate freedom. Jesus gave up everything to defeat sin and death. In Jesus, we find freedom.
So what should our response be to this? In the face of this gift of new life, this gift of freedom, what do we do with it?
There are surely many responses to this gift and top of the list should be worship. But I also think that part of our response has to be to give away our freedom, to use our freedom to seek the freedom of others. It was “for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1)
Should our response not be to fight, without flinching or backwards step, for the freedom of everyone else? Should we not tell our neighbours about Jesus? Should we not serve those who don’t yet know Him? Should we not love until it hurts?
Ultimately, the fight for freedom is won – Jesus has already done it. But the battles still rage, every day, in our lives and in the lives of those who don’t yet know Him; in the lives of both the 27 million slaves and those who have enslaved them.
Everyone needs freedom of some sort, I certainly know I do. But what we really need is more of Jesus, more of His life and love and hope.
We need Jesus, because Jesus IS freedom. Let’s set the captives free, let’s introduce them to Jesus. Freely we’ve received, now freely give.
PS I’m sure that there are loads more ways to look at freedom, and would love to hear any thoughts you might have on it…
PPS Simon recently joined as the Soul Action Project Manager. He’d love to hear your thoughts on Soul Action too, if you have any!!