On the surface, freedom is the ability to live and move without undue restrictions. But mature freedom doesn’t mean we get to do whatever we want. The burden of freedom comes with the responsibility to love.
As children grow they want to exercise more and more of their independence. This is only natural and right. And in time there’s no need to carry them everywhere as they have the ability to stand and walk on their own. But just because they can now go anywhere doesn’t mean they should. They must still be taught how to use their freedom wisely. And a similar truth holds for us as well.
Freedom is never an excuse to simply do what we want. As the apostle Paul puts it, we’re to use our freedom to serve one another in love. This is the burden that comes with our ability to live and move unrestricted.
How do we use our freedom to bring more life and goodness to others?
On the one hand, like the child ready to crawl and walk by himself, it’s natural to resist constraints on our freedom. At the same time, the child occasionally just wants to be carried even though he can walk on his own. And sometimes we also prefer others to do what is our responsibility to accomplish. On both ends we must learn to use our freedom wisely – neither misusing it in selfish pursuits nor avoiding it in order to defer our responsibility to others.
We’ve been called to serve one another in love. And when we fail to use our freedom for love we allow much harm to come to our life and relationships.
Accept the burden of freedom as you serve others in love.