Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wiping one's shoes and writing about freedom

I have a pet peeve. No one seems to wipe their shoes off any more on the mats at every mall entrance. Nowadays if you want to tail someone, you can easily follow their muddy footprints. What has happened? My mother warned me ominously about the penalty for failing to use doormats for their intended use. Do mothers do that any more?

OK, I’m old fashioned. But am I the only one who has noticed this decline in good manners? And what about please and thank you? Are they doomed to join the dust-pile of archaic expressions?
Actually, I shouldn’t be surprised. Like the infinitesimal changes that herald climate change, these lapses signal social deterioration. Societies gradually decline, like water seeking the lowest elevation. It’s some kind of cultural law of entropy.

Strange. While secular pundits continue to expand the frontiers of moral freedom our social fabric unravels. Freedom to sleep around. Freedom to no-fault divorce. Freedom to abortion. Freedom to same-sex marriage. And now freedom to have three parents.

Which brings me to our calling as Christian writers—to proclaim liberty to the captives. What captives? The captives Jesus talked about. "Everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). No matter what our society’s libertarians may declare, God’s moral imperatives are changeless. Almighty God has not repealed the ten commandments.

Like the rails that guide a train to its destination, the moral principles of God guide mankind to freedom. By contrast, disobedience to God’s revealed will entangles mankind in a web of destructive consequences—hence, slavery to sin. The situation we see around us every day bears witness to the biblical diagnosis.

Democratic freedoms owe their origin to the gospel of Jesus Christ. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1). The advance of anarchy owes its encouragement to the rejection of revealed truth. "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

May I suggest that we use every skill we possess to expose our generation to the roots of anarchy and the sources of liberty. But before we tackle social ills, we would be wise to share Paul’s exhortation with our fellow Christians; "Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).

Sometimes subtle pressures in our churches become gossamer fetters that bind us to the expectations of fellow Christians, rather than to those of Christ. We will serve God most sincerely when free to express our own personality and gifts.

1 comment:

Keith Clemons said...

Well said, Eric. You wax eloquent on a topic close to my heart. Thank you.

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