24 August 2008

Being Grown Up

It feels like the time for another chat! After realizing that "you are free" and what that means, we come to the next step. If freedom is not the same thing as license, then it makes a difference how you use your freedom. If you have license, then you can do whatever you want. If you are free, you are free to choose the good. It's not the same thing because freedom pays you the compliment of making you responsible for your choices. It makes you a grown up!

Children are generally told what to do. They are also often let "off the hook" for not being responsible for their actions. They are not free. It is the same thing with the criminal defense of not guilty by reason of insanity. That defense rests on this understanding of freedom and responsibility. If you are not free in the choice, then you are also not responsible. Although responsibility is a burden, it is one that grown ups willingly carry. To refuse responsibility is to refuse freedom. That is what happens, for example, to convicts.

Responsibility works both ways. We are not only responsible for our misuse of freedom but also for the proper use of freedom. We get the credit for our free choices! The more we use our freedom for the good, the freer we become. We become moral agents for good. We grow up. And what exactly are we growing up into? We are growing up into being another Christ, who exercised the greatest use of freedom in losing all freedom on the Cross out of love for the Father and for us! Jesus "grew up" -- He was lifted up on the Cross. And so for us, the most important uses of freedom involve obedience, love, and sacrifice. These responsibilities are the fruits of freedom and grow us up!