We all appreciate free things and desire to be in the state of freedom. Our country was founded on the very concept. In Guam, we are influenced by the same pursuit of liberty. This past week was our 73rd annual Liberation Day. A day to reflect on the freedom from oppression. The very definition of freedom is: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. At the root of any desire for freedom is the desire to do whatever we want and have no one or nothing stop us.
When I was younger all I wanted was to grow up so I could be in control of my own life. I could go or do whatever I wanted. Adulthood was this sweet fantasy of power and freedom. When I finally reached adulthood I realized (like we all eventually do) that the freedom I pictured came with a price. In reality, I still can’t do or go wherever I want without some kind of sacrifice. We work for our freedom, we earn it. Our country is built on shed blood and lost lives. Our island lives in the shadow of war and suffrage. Freedom was bought with a price. But is freedom really free if we have to fight for it? If we must pay?
We have an obscured idea of freedom. We are enslaved to things that we don’t even know are controlling us and we think that we choose them. If I reach for a cookie, I am not doing so out of my pure will and choice. My hunger and cravings compel me. Our actions are motivated by our lust for sin more than we are willing to admit. In our greediness, we desire the freedom to obtain more. In our selfishness, we desire the freedom to be first. In our conceit, we desire the freedom to be heard. We are slaves blinded by a sense of false freedom.
In her poem, Caged Bird, Maya Angelou writes,
“But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
We are caged birds crying out for freedom, yet ignorant of what that freedom actually looks like.
Liberty is a life that has been broken from the bondage of sin. Liberty is a life in Christ. For freedom, Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). Freedom comes with a price. But Jesus paid that price so that we may obtain true freedom. He sacrificed, he shed his blood. Our freedom in Christ is not earned, it is freely given.