The wide navy horizontal stripes on sky blue overalls worn by 12 men disembarking from a bus in a city in Iran caught my attention. As I got closer I noticed that each man was connected to the next with handcuffs and dragging between each ankle was a thick (about 40cm long) chain. There were crowds pressing to enter what I presumed was a court house. Why were these men being held prisoners? Why were they back in town? I was out on a morning walk without an English-speaking guide. The looks of anxiety on people’s faces suggested that I not ask.
As I continued to walk I reflected on “freedom”. True justice demands consequences. Jail is one of those consequences—where people’s liberty is curtailed. Confinement, hard labour, irregular contact with family in a very controlled environment is supposed to bring justice.
Spiritually, a view of an always demanding and punishing God inhibits freedom.
However, I don’t have to be in jail to lose freedom. Growing debt, abusive relationships, narrow mindedness also curtail my freedom. Spiritually, a view of an always demanding and punishing God inhibits freedom.
The apostle Paul was obsessed with being right with God by doing all the right things—including limiting the freedom of those who were not following God in the way he thought was right. But this was his prison until Jesus was revealed to him. Jesus’ grace freed Paul from his obsession and gave him real purpose. Paul became right with God because of Jesus’ life, death and intercession—not his own. All who believe in Jesus have the freedom to be loved and discover life-changing beliefs and practices that give freedom in money management, relationships and thinking.
I invite you to try freedom in Jesus.