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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 28 Nov 2001

Freedom QUESTION from Wanda June 26, 2000 What does Jesus tell us about freedom?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on July 23, 2000 Dear Mrs. Wanda:
Jesus tells us in John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
But what does this mean?
First, what does this statement NOT say? It does not say:
you will know your opinion, and your opinion will set your free
you will know your particular point-of-view of truth, and your opinion will set your free
you will have a choice and your choices will make you free
Now what does the statement actually say? If says:
only the TRUTH can make one free
The Truth cannot make you free unless you know the truth
To know the Truth necessarily means that we must have awareness and knowledge of what the Truth is.
But even Satan is aware of the Truth, thus we must not only be aware and have knowledge of the Truth, we must accept that Truth.
Accepting that Truth is moot, unless we OBEY that truth and apply it to our lives.
Thus freedom comes from making a learning what truth is and making a positive decision of free will to accept, adopt, and obey that Truth. THEN we have freedom.
But what about free will? God has given us free will IN ORDER TO CHOOSE TRUTH, TO CHOOSE CORRECTLY. God did not give us free will to choose wrongly.
For our will to choose freely, our will must choose correctly.
Why is this? What does this mean?
A will that chooses wrongly does not choose freedom but chooses slavery. All that is not TRUTH is unfree (slavery).
Freedom comes only AFTER we accept Truth as Truth, thus the only decisions that we can consider free, an act of free will is that will which has been freed (which cannot happen unless Truth has set the will free).
A will not choosing correctly does so because God has given us the CAPACITY to choose wrong, but is in a strict sense a will that is not free, but enslaved. To choose wrongly is to choose slavery.
Free will then is the ability of the will to choose CORRECTLY.
An enslaved will has the CAPACITY to choose wrongly, or to accept the alternative and accept Truth (to choose correctly) and thereby have the will emancipated into freedom.
Confusing? Well it is a circle. Freedom is only possible when we know and obey the Truth. We cannot know and obey the Truth unless we choose to. We cannot choose correctly without having freedom. We cannot have freedom without knowing the truth.
It is circle. As long as we stay in the circle -- which means ever pursuing TRUTH and accepting and obeying that truth -- we are fine.
It is when we try to circumvent or to break the circle with our personal opinions and bias that we get into trouble and find ourselves away from Truth and thus involved in slavery.
Bottom line after this confusing philosophical discussion?
Freedom comes from learning the truth of Jesus Christ and ALL His teachings (all that is taught in Christianity about faith and morals), accepting that Truth, adopting that Truth into our hearts, and obeying that Truth in our lives.
As long as we strive and pursue this Truth that is Jesus Christ, and live that Christ-life as best we can, we have a measure of Freedom. The closer we get to Christ, the more freedom we have. The closer we get to Christ the lesser we are ourselves. As St. Paul said, I must decrease for Him to increase in his life.
Jesus Christ must be sitting on the throne of your life. To the degree Jesus in on the throne, to that degree we experience freedom.
Nobody is perfect, of course, not even the Saints. Thus part of the experience of Freedom is the GREAT GRACE of forgiveness that God extends to us when we confess out sins (our violations of freedom) to Him. When we do that we restore the level of freedom we experience and hopefully grow into ever higher levels of freedom as we grow and get closer to our Lord.
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