Truth & Freedom
“Freedom has been hunted around the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear made man afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth is that all it asks, all it wants, is the liberty of appearing … In such a situation, man becomes what he ought to be. He sees his species not with the inhuman idea of a natural enemy, but as kindred …” Thomas Paine wrote those words in 1791. Paine had a knack for presenting things in a way that made you think. Thinking is a good thing when it’s not a bad thing. We are all prone to overthinking the trivial and under-thinking the essential. We can draw wrong conclusions and ignore the truth as well as any people who have ever lived. Fear is as much an obstacle for us as it has been for any people living at any time. The “slavery of fear” happens when we encounter adversity without an organizing priority or principle. Without something or someone to live for other than self, we too can become enemies of freedom and strangers to truth. When such a thing happens we tend to see others as objects of suspicion rather than people to love. In the midst of it all however, there is an irresistible quality to truth. It shows up even when uninvited. But for those who seek to have a better relationship with things like truth and freedom, it is a good idea to identify a guiding and organizing principle. In the Bible God offers this in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Perhaps this weekend of July 4th represents a great time to think about this verse and what it would mean to more consistently use our freedom to make choices in line with seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first. What better way to honor the freedoms we enjoy? When we live seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, we raise the bar on our discipleship.