the freedom of gentle boldness


In a world where a broad range of opinions and expectations diverge, perhaps widely from our own, we may feel pressured to hold a certain line of thought or define controversial positions based on culturally acceptable sentiments where nine times out of ten the truth is frozen over and there is little running water left to quench our thirst for freedom of speech which reaches to the deepest depths of human need.

I wonder … even in the church … how free we really feel to reveal the whole counsel of his word in conflicted situations and restricted conversations without fear although we know it is in Christ we are and will be saved.

Dear companions on this journey of faith, sometimes targets of pointed jeers and persecution tears, may you and I be held in love to strengthen gentle boldness and pursue a better way.

Like many of you, I have been mulling over the events of this past week trying to listen with an open ear in a thin place of hope for a world both imploding and exploding with human brokenness on the edges of self-destruct, completely bound to sounds of rhetoric stuck in the ancient paths of rebellious pride.

I am straining to hear the sanctity of sanity, those with discerning spirits and a sincere desire to promote benevolent goodness with the will to seek a world where ‘love and faithfulness meet together; where righteousness and peace kiss each other’ (Psalm 85:10).

Redeemed freedom chooses life at every turn, vessels of the unearned love of God.

Yet, the pursuit of freedom is often complicated and the way forward is not always clear.

While we may at times be drawn into ongoing battles – struggles which cripple and maim, the same old hatreds, the same old blames, framing all behind bars of enslavement to the pain of separation from God, others, and ourselves – reconciled freedom in Christ does not share commonality with ‘might makes right’ at any cost, excepting the might of the cross.

The gospel can be easily lost in ungodly response.

Notions of true human freedom, unless defined within the limitations of being free from natural inclinations which suggest we are free to harm, to take revenge or even take the lives of those with whom we disagree, fall short of the lasting hope we find in him. We are called to do all that we can to live in peace with everyone in so much as it depends on us and to let the living water of the Holy Spirit flow from within.

Yet, passive failure to defend the defenceless loses the impetus of divine expectation to be our brother’s keeper, to do justice, to care for the vulnerable whoever they may be.

Human freedom is worth striving for … but how?

Perhaps one place to start is to wrestle with the Word, to put down swords and pick up pens to dialogue in peace until the glory of the Lord be released into hearts which search for truth.

A few days ago, France felt the penetrating point of intolerance for espousing diverse views impossible to blend.  Such acts are not unlike the Herodian spears of Bethlehem’s murderous rampage trying to obliterate announcements which propositioned Messiah’s birth by piercing every little boy under two years of age.  Uncontrolled rage.  Fierce jealousy fighting for rights to hold the only voice, the only choice, tenacious rapacious assaults which want to create a world where no one is left to make any noise who isn’t prepared to feed the ego of a sinister enemy of the human soul.

As believing people, as people who grieve over the cheap price placed on human life, we ask with sincerity of heart where the path of freedom for all is to be found when facing the pretence of supposed moral ground hell-bent on wiping out all contrary thought without ourselves jumping the gun of presumption to ride the same wings of contemptuous things going wrong.

Je ne suis pas sur.  But I know we are called to endure in love until the end.

C’est fini.  Lines have been drawn. ‘Je suis Charlie’ is now carried on diverse tongues.

Though fresh lances have been thrown, and the spiritual war for our soul is shown for what it is, it is finished!  Hope has been realigned by Christ’s death which spawned new life. Jesus hardly had the words out of his mouth when the battle for freedom was won, making us one by faith.

Will you join me in prayer to enter into the starkness of our human truth and bless the world in his name?

‘May you who won our hearts with love, who took the Roman spear for us when led to the point of barbaric slaughter in the greatest historical attempt to silence Truth ever made, still the world with the freedom you have already bought. 

Show us the way, re-membering us as a whole human race in you who is the Way.  

Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.  Amen.

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