Courage and Freedom

It is easy to give in to fear in life. To do something or not do something because of what others may think. People have lived their entire lives frozen into little caskets of their own making, afraid to be who God intended them to be.

Sometimes the fear comes from our families of origin where children fail to individuate into adults in a healthy way. Underneath everything, there is a lack of confidence in your own decision making, your own abilities, your own person as an individual, free and clear of anyone else.

It takes real courage to face that in yourself as an adult and, no matter what your age, work on becoming who God intended you to be.

If you did not grow up with healthy emotional boundaries in your family, it is never to late to begin to establish them, to tell those who live in perpetually sinful, prideful and controlling ways that you are moving on and tearing up the choreography sheet sketched out for you long ago.

If the old choreography sheet does not get torn up and a new one drafted according to God’s plan, you guarantee that the dysfunction is perpetuated for yet another generation in your own children.

Our children need to see godly courage in their parents–courage to stand in love against sinful behavior in relationships, courage to move on from those who are too blind and unwilling to receive the truth, and courage to love selflessly as Jesus taught us to love.

If they don’t learn this, they are prone to becoming either a perpetrator or an enabler of those who harm others. The twisted concept that enabling and justifying sin is Christian love has left a trail of victims in its wake. It’s up to us to model a godly way.

In the end, we are not responsible for the choices made by others. They cannot be allowed to define us, distract us or impede us from growing into the people God tells us in His Word that we need to be.

There’s a time to hang on and to try to bring about healthy change in relationships. And there’s a time to walk away in freedom, leaving those who choose darkness and self-deception to face the consequences of their choices. That takes strength of character and the knowledge that God has called us to peace.

If someone in your life has rejected you, scorned you, abused you emotionally or otherwise, and you know you have done all you can do to heal the situation, walk away in the firm confidence that God has something better for you than to be destroyed by it. Don’t chase after those God has removed from your life in the name of piety. Sometimes it’s just misdirected neediness. If that’s the case, we’re doomed to a cycle of trying to get needs met by someone who is incapable of doing so. It’s the emotional equivalent of banging your head into a cement wall.

We can stop the senseless head banging, gain a new perspective, stop attributing the status of “god” to a mere mortal and look to the true God to direct our steps and meet our needs. There is tremendous freedom there if we can only see it.

The words of this song are a beautiful description of how God can raise us up, as on eagle’s wings, when our trust is in Him.

4 thoughts on “Courage and Freedom

  1. terriergal says:

    Amen, Inge. There comes a time of departing from toxic relationships even if they are family. It is a balancing act depending on how bad it is and how badly you have been hurt. It takes time and distance and perhaps sometimes you can make small advances toward reconciliation with controlled interactions that you can leave at any time if it turns ‘out of control.’ But the last thing you should do is accept false guilt put on you by someone else, for having legitimate pain you have to deal with in your own time. Or for protecting your loved ones from the same pain and manipulation. Teach them how to think for themselves and when it is right to DISobey someone in authority over them (including yourself) – and your kids will appreciate that freedom. My dad always told me the only time I was actually allowed to disobey is if someone (including himself) ever told me to do something that was against Scripture. He told me to compare all things to Scripture to find the truth. Of course, being imperfect sinners, we often came to different conclusions about that and locked horns. Normal… he was sometimes exasperating, but so was I and it didn’t amount to abuse. We made a lot of progress before he died. I am thankful for that, and that when he was dying I could somewhat clumsily assure him that forgiveness was not based on his faulty performance in life, but on Christ’s perfect and acceptable work on his behalf.

    Part of it is that parents think that control is the way to make a kid holy. (i.e. a law based approach). But the gospel, grace, and forgiveness is how God makes us holy! Not by the law, which kills us and kills the relationship. The law is important, but only to point us to the real solution, which is Christ/the gospel/forgiveness.

    In so doing, parents exasperate their children and make a sort of idol of themselves for their kids. Kids live in such fear of displeasing this ‘little god’ over their lives that they are put through the emotional and sometimes physical wringer to try and perform for them. Both being sinners, their parents are perceived changeable and seemingly arbitrary in the way they interpret this ‘law.’ It’s a recipe for disaster. It’s only by the grace of God we don’t all destroy each other!

    When we grow up we must realize our parents are sinful human beings and as far as we can, honor them as God commands…by not allowing their sin to control us either by cowering under their control or by an angry and bitter overreaction to it. No one deserves our total obedience but God and we can’t even give him that thing which he rightly requires. We still need forgiveness and mercy from him.

    Forgiveness between people, too, doesn’t necessarily mean reconciliation. And even reconciliation doesn’t mean that the relationship will be back to normal. It is not that easy when this kind of thing happens between sinners. Yes in Christ, we are seen as perfectly righteous and have no fear before God, but between people we realize it’s much more difficult. However I know that I am free to lose for the sake of the other with whom I would like to reconcile, because Christ has won for me all that I need. I don’t know from day to day how that works out in my actions. Sometimes I don’t live according to that knowledge. But I keep seeking to do it better, knowing that even though I am not perfectly living in light of the grace of the gospel, God still forgives me and uses my imperfect actions to work his sovereign will in the life of me and those I interact with. That is VERY freeing!!

  2. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    As parents we bless our children of any age with the singular message that we love them for who they are, not our idea of what they should be. That’s not the same as endorsing everything they do, and it doesn’t mean you don’t give them advice and counsel as they grow older—just that your affection and concern isn’t based on performance, conformity or service to your cause. That’s a hard lesson to learn as a parent, but an important one. I saw this clip in an old 80’s TV program online a few months ago, and it really speaks truth.

  3. Chris says:

    This was one of my favorite hymns as a youth. Thanks for reminding me of it. One of the two churches I attend uses an old hymnbook. We are singing wonderful hymns, many of them never heard by my ears before. The tunes are great but, more importantly, the words have substance. I like some of the new stuff, but you just can’t beat an old hymn like this one.

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