Freedom is Scary

29 04 2008

In the film The Shawshank Redemption, actor Morgan Freeman portrays a character by the name of Ellis “Red” Redding.  Red sits a prison cell for 40 years longing for freedom and mourning the thoughtless act of violence he committed as a teenager which landed him there.  Finally, after 40 years, Red is set free!  FREE!  However, Red, learns what we all discover sooner or later.  The greatest prison is the one we place ourselves into.  Red finds that too much freedom is scary.  You see, rules, regulations, structure, law all create a false sense of safety which too often we will gladly sell our freedom cheap to attain.

“It’s a terrible thing to live in fear,” Red says as he reflects upon his new found freedom.  He even confesses that he thinks about various ways he can break his parole and return to the prison he so longed to escape from.  Freedom can be scary. 

I wish Red was the exception of how we look at freedom but it seems to me to more often be the rule.  I have discovered that, while Christians talk about freedom in Christ and sing about His grace, we are allot more like Red than we would like to admit.  It never ceases to surprise me at how angry people can get over the issue of grace once you pass the point of meaningless sentimentality and cross the line into the reality of what it means.  I have come to the belief that their anger comes from fear.  Freedom can be scary and grace brings freedom.  It is so easy and safe to retreat into a prison of dos and don’ts.  There is a dishonest sense of calm we feel sitting in our prison cells erected by overly simplistic black and white walls.

The church of Christ should never profess to free people from sin only to turn around and enslave them by erecting legalistic walls which proclaim righteousness but produce another fallen form of idolatry.  Anything which turns our eyes upon self rather than to the cross is sin no matter how safe it appears or righteous it claims to be.  We must continually and intentionally focus our gaze upon the cross of Christ, upon the renewal found in His grace, upon the freedom found in His love.  YES – freedom can be scary but His grace is sufficient.  Embrace it today!

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6 responses

29 04 2008
merlotmudpies

I was incredibly encouraged and convicted by yesterday’s sermon, “Idols and Ebenezers” out of 1 Samuel at New Life, Escondido, CA. Your statement, “Anything which turns our eyes upon self rather than to the cross is sin no matter how safe it appears or righteous it claims to be. We must continually and intentionally focus our gaze upon the cross of Christ, upon the renewal found in His grace, upon the freedom found in His love.” immediately brought it to mind again.

It also makes me think of the benediction we used at my mother’s memorial service: Hebrews 10: 19-23 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Our hope is Him. Thank you for stating this again and again for I find I needed to be reminded daily, hourly, on a minute-by-minute basis and blessedly, it never gets old upon the hearing.

–M

29 04 2008
dpcpastor

Thank you for your encouragement! We all need to be reminded. May you be blessed this week. Also, you comment reminded me to continue praying for you and the loss of your Mom. I hope you find peace in knowing that others are blessed through th elegacy of faith she left behind in her daughter.

In Christ Alone,
Darian

30 04 2008
Deb Krum

Hi Darian!

You are so right, freedom is scary–gloriously scary! I love your post and your blog! I am so glad you are out there proclaiming our freedom in Christ.

I especially appreciated your words “Anything which turns our eyes upon self rather than to the cross is sin no matter how safe it appears or righteous it claims to be. We must continually and intentionally focus our gaze upon the cross of Christ, upon the renewal found in His grace, upon the freedom found in His love.” Wow! This fills my heart with such joy! It is all about Him, and whenever it becomes about me I have taken my eyes off of Jesus. Ah, but there is His grace again… Even there He catches our fall!

From the writings of Lilias Trotter:

“As an eagle…fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings–so the Lord alone did lead him.”

“Fluttereth over–the early stages of faith are reaching upward, like the eaglets for their food when the mother-bird is overhead. It is an older faith that learns to swing out into nothingness and drop down full weight on God–the broken-up nest of former ‘experiences’ left behind–nothing between us and the abyss but God Himself. Trained faith is a triumphant gladness in having nothing but God–not rest, no foothold–nothing but Himself. A triumphant gladness in swinging out into that abyss, rejoicing in every fresh emergency that is going to prove Him true. ‘The Lord alone’–that is trained faith.”

May God continue to abound in you in all fullness…and grace.

Abiding in Christ,
Deb

30 04 2008
Matthew

That is a wonderful movie, one of my favorites.

http://www.matthewsblog.waynesborochurchofchrist.org

30 04 2008
dpcpastor

Thanks Matthew and Deb! Deb, your comments are so encouraging and I truly appreciate your insight.

Blessings,
Darian

5 04 2009
phil

I think you guys should really read hard into article above as anyone who puts their life into the hands of a fictional character for comfort is doing exactly what red did .Being an Atheist with freedom can be scarey too but In the end ultimatly more satisfying.

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