Life Together 2: Love and Freedom

I have been thinking a lot about freedom lately and how much we want to take it away from one another. Anytime we restrict the freedom of another it is always for their own good. Perhaps we love another, as God would have us. when we can release the one we wish to control on their own recognizance.

Bonhoeffer talks about this:

Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ’s sake. Therefore, human love seeks direct contact with the other person, it loves him not as a free person but as one whom it binds to itself. It wants to gain, to capture by every means; it uses force. It desires to be irresistible, to rule. – Life Together, pg. 34

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6 comments

  1. queeniepoo

    You know there is such freedom in releasing control. Yet so easily to entangle love with control, or manipulation and not to mention the churning of thoughts and energy to come up with creative ways to do so.

    I have to admit it gets easier but then I have to keep balanced with not becoming jaded or callous. The Serenity Prayer is one of my favorites.

  2. karmenl

    One of my favorite verses…Galations 5:1, ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.’
    And then another in Isaiah where it talks about God’s Servant opening blind eyes, freeing captives from prisons and releasing those who sit in dungeons of darkness—those are HUGE promises.

    In Paul Young’s (author of The Shack) he said something about Christ’s death being more than just to guarantee us a ticket to heaven, but rather the salvation of our souls (which is meaningful, because ‘the shack’ is a metaphor for the soul). The salvation of our souls is, what I’m coming to believe is the process of coming into healing and wholeness. That, to me, is truly an opening of blind eyes, setting captives free, and a deliverance for those who sit in darkness.

    That is so incredible to me that He cares to make us functional, purposeful, and fruitful HERE and NOW.

  3. paulhill

    It is too easy, and too tempting, to try to coerce others to perform or behave how we want them. Releasing control, or our illusion of it, is tough but essential.

    BTW, I am half-way through “The Shack”. Pretty amazing.

  4. 2reasons

    I think I see Bonhoeffer’s point. It is part of why we grieve when someone we love dies, even if we are convinced that they have gone to heaven: we have lost something. Although we did many things for their benefit, it is likely that we received much in return. It’s hard to know to what degree we love others selflessly and to what degree we love them selfishly. And it’s hard for us to see the subtle ways we try to control people in order to keep them close to us.

    Regardless of our internal issues, though, I think this is one of those Ecclesiastes 3 cases: that there is a time for taking charge of others for their own good, and there is a time for allowing them to stand or fall on their own.

  5. paul

    One thing I appreciate how Bonhoeffer is his realism. He understood that allowing another the freedom that they possessed as an individual meant neither being manipulative of them (in order to get them to conform to some norm of behavior) nor overresponsible for them (the act of taking responsibility and/or the guilt and blame for their lives). These aren’t easy things to give up for someone who has had a habit of viewing their sister or brother this way.

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