Freedom Is Equality Under God's Laws
Recently, I've been pondering the concept of freedom because mom always says that she can do whatever she wants and people say that they have the freedom to choose to wear masks or not to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People say that freedom is necessary to love, but what does God think? All this freedom is hurting people. Does God really value freedom as much as love? Is love freedom? Or an even better question: What does God think that freedom is? The Bible chapter of the day on biblegateway.com answered my question in Matthew 6. Love is freedom, but freedom is not the permission to act with self-desires.
Freedom is often thought of as the ability to choose to do whatever one wants without regard for others. This concept implies that God allows people to do whatever satisfies them. But in verses 24-25 of Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to do the very opposite. He instructs us not to worry about ourselves because we cannot serve ourselves, also known as mammon or the flesh, and God, the Spirit. As the opposite master to God, the modern notion of freedom is suggested to be contrary to love because God is love.
Rather, the Bible contrasts freedom to the bondage of slavery in sin in Romans and Galatians. This comparison suggests that freedom is equality under God’s laws because we become His free heirs with Christ (Romans 8). This concept of freedom as equality is seen throughout the book of Matthew especially chapter 23 where Jesus warns us against making laws favorable to ourselves and burdening others with oppressive laws that are not of God in what He calls hypocrisy.
This idea of freedom can best be explained through the current #BlackLivesMatter movement. Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, pinpoints freedom in her recent poem Fury and Faith when she says that we are fighting for “liberty, not lawlessness.” The African-American community does not want to do whatever they want without limits; they want the racist to live under the rule of law and be treated equally. Inequality oppresses people into slavery; equality relieves this oppression by allowing people to receive the benefits of the law and not be mistreated by arrogance and resentment.
When we are equal under the law, hypocrisy that Jesus warns against disappears. As CBS News so eloquently described Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka the “Notorious RBG,” as “expand[ing] the recognition of ‘we the people,’” the commentator expressed the heart of equality and how it relates to the freedom of humanity. Equality under the law allows all humans to reap the benefits of these regulations simply by the mere fact of having human DNA. In biblical times, being a royal heir also meant benefiting from the laws of the land, and in this case, God’s kingdom.
By using the biblical definition of freedom as equality under God’s law without the oppression of unfair laws, we can love by being humble, not arrogant – thinking that we are better than others and resenting them. After all love forgives.