Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I'm Free!

One of Christianity's greatest claims is "freedom". And rightly so! When we are caught in the endless cycle of stuffing up, guilt, shame, low self esteem, that leads to more stuff ups, we long for some sort of freedom.

The acceptance of Jesus as an external source (outside of ourselves) who can break that cycle by taking all those things onto himself by a mystical act of substitution is very powerful. I personally experienced that power regularly throughout my life, and was about the only thing that stopped me from taking my own life on many occasions.

The problem of course was the cycle was never really broken, just moved up a notch, just far enough so I could sense the freedom and the joy that it brings.

But over the years I had greater revelations of freedom. There would be deeper realisations of God's grace and love that would bring me to a place where I'd think "this is it - finally, I understand what freedom is!".

A few months or so later, another doctrine etc would unlock more of the hold religion had on me, and I'd see how bound I'd been by things like legalism, expectations, ritual and so on. But then the cycle would begin again.

Lately I've seen many preachers, who were very influential in helping me break out of religious deception, falling back into the same cycle, but in a way that is sickening. They are mocking and belittling anyone who believes there is any more to discover. They believe they have made it and if anyone continues to look beyond the limits they have set, they are heretics. And yet it wasn't so long ago they were the heretics!

But here's the point - all these exercises in struggling to find deeper truth, moving from one level of revelation to another, although they can be stimulating and bring personal joy and satisfaction, don't really bring freedom. Nor do they bring anything of real value to the table.

Like a broken record I'll keep saying again and again. Love is all that matters. It's not a doctrine, its not a philosophy, its not a mystical process or some gnostic ideal.

Love is also described as "goodness". The simple act of being good - to yourself and everyone else. Although the doctrines surrounding Jesus and general christian theology can be beneficial as I said, they are just stop gaps, solutions that require greater solutions.

The simple act of being good to ourselves and good to others is powerful in its simplicity beyond measure. The act of seeing the goodness in everything around us, in the air, all we see and touch, in the grumpy checkout girl, in the lonely guy at the bar, anyone anywhere - the appreciation of the intrinsic value of simply being a human, is the start of all wisdom. Not some esoteric belief system that requires detailed understanding of complex doctrines to be "saved". Of course, many will say we need Jesus as our ticket to heaven, but that is another story and not that relevant in the big scheme of things - yes, I can hear the screams of protest ;-)

God is all in all - He IS goodness/love. We simply choose to slow down and see it - everywhere. We take the time to be thankful for it. We nurture it, in US first, and in everyone and everything else.

Only love brings life - and freedom.