One of the great inventions for dog owners is the variable length leash. Sometimes my dog gets the benefits of its full length, which gives her quite a bit of roaming space. Other times proximity to people necessitates keeping it very short which very much limits her freedom. In those cases too much freedom would be dangerous both to her and others.
Freedom can be a frightening thing for along with freedom comes responsibility. When we are free to make our own decisions and to act on them we must also accept the full responsibility for the consequences of our choices. It is much more convenient if we have others to blame.
When children are small we limit their freedom and slowly expand it as they grow more capable of responsible behavior. Some people even into adulthood don’t handle freedom well. Paul refers to this in Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
Others know their limitations and join organizations with strict rules for membership. This avoids having to make difficult decisions. The leash is short. Jesus wants to give us a long leash. He wants us to be governed by principles of love, which sometimes necessitates choosing to do something everyone else thinks is wrong, but we know is right. Eternal life is for the brave.
Written by Roger Bothwell on October 28, 2002
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453