Tag Archives: philosophy

we are everywhere in chains

21 Nov

Back when I was a fulltime missionary (2001-2007) and until January of this year, I kept a blog called thegermanygirl: ruminations.

The reasons I haven’t posted on that blog in nearly a year are myriad, but suffice it to say that because of my many other endeavors, I simply haven’t had time to ruminate anything for the “old” blog.

But.

When I checked my email this morning, I found a notification of a new comment on one of my thegermanygirl posts. The comment and my reply to it are worth sharing here:

“Tony” writes:

I see from your Profile that you believe that “Jesus sacrificed himself for the eternal freedom of humanity”.

Most people agree with Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains”: this must mean that the sacrifice was in vain.

I guess you must have read him, so presumably your observation of the world differs from Rousseau’s. Or perhaps two thousand years has not been enough, and we must wait longer for our eternal freedom.

I replied:

You might think it strange enough, but I agree with Rousseau (whom I have, indeed, read). I’ve never belonged to that segment of the Christian population that believes in original sin; I have never believed that any of us is born tainted. We are truly born free in every sense of the word. We are born innocent, untainted, fresh, new.

But I believe we put ourselves in chains as we carry on our lives and make our choices. We say and do things that cause each other pain, and each word or action that causes pain is just another chain we clamp around our own wrists. There is not a single one of us who has not caused harm to another.

We are “everywhere in chains” because we lock ourselves away from each other and lock ourselves away from the one power in the universe that can break down all the doors and unlock all the chains.

The sacrifice that Jesus made was not in vain, because the freedom he offers is available to anyone who wants it. The crux of the matter is that he can’t give freedom to those who don’t want it. He won’t force his freedom on anyone. Each of us will spend eternity exactly the way we want to. And that’s the most liberating part of the whole deal.

____________________________

I hope my response to Tony will challenge him to think further on Christ instead of pushing him away. It’s so difficult to know how my typed words will come across to someone who lives on the other side of the world (I checked his Blogger profile). Communicating tone is nigh on impossible in blog comment format! Ugh. And we’re missing every nuance of body language, which tells so much more than words.

Still, I hope that I said what Christ would want me to say and in the way he would want me to say it. That’s pretty much all I can do.