If you have followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed I like freedom. A lot. I offer 4 Freedom Workshops each year at my church to talk about emotional health in the Christian life. I write daily devotionals at FreedomForToday.com. My theme verse is Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
When we live the Christian life trapped by the weight of our burdens, we miss out on the freedom that Christ came to bring us. All of us have emotional struggles, and many of us have symptoms of mental illness. These are not the end of the story. There is freedom for you, even if your symptoms do not disappear. There is hope for you, even when your prayers have not yet been answered. And in the eternal kingdom of God, those symptoms will be healed and those prayers will be answered — sometimes on earth, always in heaven.
As you celebrate freedom this July 4 (sorry, non-American friends, just work with me on this one…), remember what real freedom is. Real freedom is the fact that you can sing praises to Jesus from a jail cell (or from the confines of your room where you might be currently ill). Real freedom is the fact that grace is covering you right now. You don’t have to be perfect for God to love you deeply. Real freedom is the fact that your past doesn’t have to define who you are forever. There is hope, there is freedom, there is a way out.
If you are struggling today, we accept and love you exactly as you are. The ChurchTherapy.com community is a group of people who understand and we do not stigmatize. We believe that the Church should be a safe place for you. Freedom is found in the absence of judgment and pressure to change. Ironically, it is in the safety of non-judgmental relationships that change is often most possible. If you want to get closer to Jesus, you will when you are given the space to do it freely. God himself chooses to give us the freedom to come to him or not. During this week of freedom celebrations, if you are experiencing freedom, go sit beside someone who is hurting and reassure them that you won’t leave their side until they are free too. It’s what the Gospel is all about.