Love and Freedom
Without freedom, love cannot exist.
Actions undertaken for the sake of love have a value that is derived from their very existence. Actions undertaken for the sake of religious duty, personal obligation, or social expectation have value only in the feeling that they are able to arouse in the recipient. Yet, even this feeling becomes an expected right – or worse, a required response – when the parties involved in the transaction feel restricted to this particular set of behaviors and responses.
This idea is demonstrated by the child who is forced by his parents to apologize to a sibling for his inappropriate behavior. The words “I’m sorry” have no meaning from his lips because they were drawn out by force.
In the same way, the words “I love you” have no meaning if they are coerced from my lips by means of a threat, a necessity, or worst of all a feeling of duty. If I love because I must, my love becomes meaningless.
However, if I am free to say whatever I want and still choose the words, “I love you” then the words become an expression of who I am and communicate an incredible value to the person I am speaking with. By the same right, my actions are only loving if I am free to act in a way that is unloving, but still choose to love.
I think this principle can apply to my relationships with people and with God in very much the same way. If my actions toward God or others are performed out of a sense of obligation, duty, or requirement, they communicate nothing more than my ability to perform as expected. Yea me! However, the action is meaningless because it is not an expression of love, but of enslavement to some external standard.
1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
If, on the other hand, my actions are motivated by a burning desire to voluntarily limit my freedom because of love toward God or others, then the resulting actions – whatever they may be – become an expression of love.
In the coming months, I will explore the ideas of love and freedom a little more in depth. Follow the discussion here. [subscribe2]