By James Washington, Publisher of The Dallas Weekly News, NNPA Newswire Contributor
A reader called me last week and found an error of fact in one of my columns. I referred to the greatest commandment as love thy neighbor when we all know it is to love the Lord our God. I want to thank her for the notification and apologize to anyone else offended by my mistake.
This week, allow me to talk about freedom. The freedom I’m talking about is the freedom afforded you when you come to Christ. There is something quite liberating when you know or realize that you’ve been, as they say, “set free.” Have you ever thought about what that really means? The word, release, comes to my mind. Others claim relief. However, you want to characterize it, I think the revelation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior removes the burdens and barriers, we, as human beings, place upon ourselves.
That’s why I believe when people come to Christ, they are overcome by a fresh perspective on life; an enlightened one, particularly when they look back over their own lives. In a real sense, addictions are cured, feelings are healed, guilt is removed, and insecurities conquered just to name a few, when Christ enters the picture.
One of the biggest things that happens when Christ enters your life is that your fears are conquered. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have fears. I know I do (or did).
It can be the fear of being alone, or of being ostracized, or humiliated, of being found out, not accepted or yes, even the fear of dying. The knowledge of Christ in all of these situations cancels those fears. That’s what I believe people mean when they say, set free. That’s how I’ve come to understand real joy.
In the context of the spiritual awareness of being blood bought and saved, I have been set free from fear, anger, greed, selfishness and even personal self doubt. These things have hopefully been replaced with integrity, strength of character, honesty, hope, truth, the promise of life everlasting and yes above all love.
One of the hardest things to understand in this life and then, to do, is to love yourself. God even commands us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Without Christ in your life, I believe that concept of self love can be distorted and, in some cases, perverted. Love with humility is an awesome thing. When love is set free within you, life takes on a whole new meaning.
You no longer have to live in the shadows of pretense. Rather, you and I exist in the light of truth. I can be who I really am. I can strive to be who God made me to be and not what the world tries to make me. You can then show the world real you and not what you think the world needs to see. I am who God made. If that’s good enough for God, then it surely is good enough for me and anyone who thinks they want to deal with me.
I’m free and it’s wonderful. Freedom is my gift from God, paid for by Jesus Christ His one and only Son. As such what you see of me is what you get, and I’m thrilled about it. You should be too.
May God bless and keep you always.