Saturday, June 25, 2022

Choice. . .

We are all about choice.  It is more important that we get to choose than even what we choose.   We cannot be held accountable for things in which we had no choice, can we?  Or can we!  Think about this and how the ability to choose has become the very heart of what it means to be free.  On the other hand, think about how any constraint on our choices has become the very definition of what it means to be in bondage or to live in an unjust world.  But is it that simple?

In the wake of a Supreme Court opinion that most certainly only adds to the great divide we have as a nation and people on the subject of abortion, choice is what is seen at the crux of the matter.  Can a court or states take away our right to choose?  In the midst of a world of gender fluidity, neither DNA nor biology can speak to the gender that is our choice today.  Does anyone have the right to challenge or question how we feel in this moment?  In the debate over marriage and cohabitation or a hook up culture, the society no longer is able or wants to place values upon the choices and so nothing is right or wrong until the person making the choice renders the judgment of an individual upon a choice in the moment.  I could go on and on.  Freedom is the highest value of all and it manifests itself mostly in the arena of choice -- my choice.

In the Church this question has made it hard for us to say anything with any certainty.  Jesus is your choice and with that choice comes the right to choose the Jesus who fits your mold.  The Church itself is a choice -- whether to belong or attend or what happens in it.  Scripture becomes a choice of what appeals to you or you find relevant to your preference or context.  It is as if the only thing that matters is the freedom to choose -- not even the actual choices you make but only your right and autonomy to choose for you -- a choice that everyone is expected to honor, respect, and condone.  But that is the point, isn't it?

For freedom Christ has set you free -- sounds great.  But what does it mean?  Are we free to choose to belong or not, to attend or not, to pray or not, etc...?  Are there any limits on the freedom for which we have been set free?  If you look at Scripture, you see that we are not free do do what we please or to do nothing at all but free to live as God's own, according to His Word and will, doing the good works we have been set free to do, so that we may display now the eternity that is ours in Christ.  Does Scripture ever use freedom within the context to do as we please along with the presumption that everything is good and right and equal?  Unless there are no letters of St. Paul in your Bible, you cannot possibly arrive at this conclusion.  Freedom is not an ultimate value at all but only a means to a greater end -- to live as the servants of Him who served us even to death upon a cross.

A while back I inadvertently fired up a storm of controversy by suggestion that God wants us to go to Church.  It is hardly something I would have thought controversial but it turned out people thought Jesus did not care who we were are or what we say or do except and insofar as it makes us feel good.  So freedom is the ultimate value and anything that might constrain that freedom to choose is inherently wrong.  So let me stir the pot some more.  Does God give us the freedom to choose not to be holy or loving?  Are these not the expectations and fruits of the freedom Christ has given us at the cost of His own blood?

My body, my choice is hardly a Christian statement.  We are not our own.  We have been bought with a price.  We belong to the Lord.  The life we live is not our own but Christ living in us and through us.  We are given marriage and family as a gift -- not as a puzzle to design to fit our preferences.  Marriage and family are not merely options available to us by choice but the essential order reflected in our creation by God and renewed in His redemption.  A child is not a choice.  A child is a gift of God, a sacred duty and responsibility.  To discard what is God's gift is to choose freedom over the choice and to artificially label and determine that every choice is an equal one and every one autonomous to choose what is right in his or her own eyes.  But that is defined as the arrogance of sin -- everyone did what was right in their own eyes was neither freedom nor nobility but the worst captivity and the ultimate surrender of our noble lives to that which is not only common but demeaning.

Don't believe the lie that freedom means choice and choice is the most important component of freedom.  Jesus tells us that there is a value higher than freedom -- the surrender of godly right for loving purpose in His own life as one who came not to be served but to serve and give His light as a ransom for many.  The most we focus on freedom and choice, the worse the chafing of the chains of sin wears into our flesh and souls to make low what God has worked so hard to renew and make great.

No comments: