CHRISTIAN COMMENT Longing for freedom

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FREEDOM... it’s a magical word! The desire for freedom is one of our deepest longings.

It doesn’t matter how hard autocratic rulers try to keep it down, it’s an irrepressible force that keeps bursting through to the surface.

This, of course, is what we have been seeing in Egypt during the past two weeks.

The mass protests taking place there have reminded us of what happened in Eastern Europe and Berlin in 1989, or perhaps those first free elections in South Africa in 1994, when huge queues lined up patiently to cast their votes.

There is something about freedom that excites and inspires us.

We believe we can only flourish and enjoy our lives where we are not unfairly restricted and where we can question authority!

To take away a person’s freedom is one of our severest forms of punishment.

Millions of people have died fighting for freedom but sadly what was won often proved a disappointment.

History teaches us that revolutions seldom bring about the results those who started them hoped for.

New governments, however better than their predecessors, rarely live up to expectations and bring about all the changes people hope for.

Injustice, inequality and corruption are stubborn foes.

Does this mean that our dreams of freedom are destined to end in disappointment? Is it an unobtainable goal?

Not according to Jesus! In John’s gospel he said to a group of new believers: “If you obey my words, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”

At first sight it seems extraordinary for Jesus to claim that we find true freedom by submitting to him but less surprising if he is God, the one who made us and knows how we can become the people we long to be.

I’ve never been enthusiastic about jumping off diving boards!

My problem is that, even when I’m sure it’s safe and have watched other people do it successfully, I know I can’t be really certain until I climb the ladder myself, walk along the board and jump off!

Jesus said that it’s the same with following him.

We will only know – really know – that it’s the right way to go when we take the plunge and commit to obeying him.

It’s then, he says, that we will discover that what he says is really true and we have begun to find true freedom

It’s a big step to take and no one should take a blind leap of faith. But all round the town at the moment in Alpha courses, groups of people are finding out about Christian faith in a relaxed, non-threatening environment. It’s a good place to start to find out about the freedom Jesus offers us