There are many new and newer Christians attending Northstar and that number increases weekly. But even people who have been Christians for some time or even all their lives have questions on Christianity in contemporary culture. There is a pretty wide array of common misperceptions, characterizations, stereotypes, caricatures and outright myths about Christianity that circulate heavily within today’s society. I would like to address some of those myths and urban legends about Christianity continuing with the myth that Christianity suffocates personal freedom.
Many people today accept a number of myths about Christianity. Most of the myths suggest that people do not really see Jesus as He really is. For example, Christianity is sometimes seen as a negative, uptight and boring religion that keeps an interesting and fun life out of reach. There is that long list of prohibitions, and an extensive list of “do’s” and “don’ts. Christians seem to be opposed to life and freedom, still living in ancient times which constricts both personality and behavior. People probably think Christians arrive at church, don a straightjacket and hum Gregorian chants in some ancient dialect. How attractive is that? But, does this characterize the biblical perspective on Christian life and values.
The short answer is no. Galatians 5:1 says, “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.”
That doesn’t mean Christians can do what they want or when they want. Christianity does have structure, but is it also deeply personal. It is based on a personal relationship with God. So it is never arbitrary, chaotic, or irresponsible. Christians don’t have to fit into a mold; they are not meant to be clones. In fact, the guidelines God has given us provides us the ability to be creative. And innovative. And for good reason. We need new and better ways to reach those far from the heart of God.
The real answer to the question of whether Christianity suffocates personal freedom depends on what kind of Christians we are. As Christ followers, we try to mold our character after the pattern of Jesus. And it is hard to argue with the fact that He was the most liberated man who ever lived. His behavior and actions were based on what His Father wanted Him to do. John 8:29 says “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Did that code stifle His freedom? Not if you read the Bible. He was utterly free of any sin, flaw, behavioral issue. He was free to be Himself. To love people. And He was free to surrender His life for others.
Those who say their freedom is being suffocated really mean they don’t want standards that place absolute claim on them. They want freedom to do whatever they want without being accountable to God.
Jesus gives us freedom, not to do whatever we want, but to become all we were meant to be.