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The blessing of freedom is choice | Church Corner

My spiritual meditations often take me to the character of God . . . I contemplate what he must be like . . . something wonderful occurs in my life and I think God is wonderful and loves me very much . . . something overtakes me that’s uncomfortable or painful, and I wonder if God even cares about any detail of my life, let alone loves me . . . and then tragedy strikes . . . something we could not avert, or something caused by another human that is totally preventable . . . if that someone would have made different choices . . . and now I’m back to what the character of God must be like . . .

When a tragedy of any sort shows up, the question most often posed is something like: How could God allow something like this, or, why would God allow something like this? I’ve heard many responses over these questions and I’ve made my share. One response I stay away from is to in any way suggest that there must be some divine reason behind it, or for it; like it was all somehow in God’s eternal plan and is somehow for our benefit.

I reject that reasoning. That would make God the author of evil and pain and I reject that. How could God be good and the source of evil and pain? And, I’m gonna stay away from blaming Satan, too! It’s my opinion that we give him way too much credit for all the craziness in our world. But, after all, if I can blame him – or God, or anyone else, for that matter – for some evil glitch, then I don’t have to take any responsibility for my own evil habits. When I own my choices, that means I’m responsible for my choices – back to choice, are we?

Today I was meditating on the thought that: I must learn to be a worshipper and I must learn to possess peace in my soul. Then everything else will take care of itself. And if I need anything from you in order to worship or find peace for my soul, I make myself a victim. I choose to not be a victim. This doesn’t mean I don’t want you in my life, or what you offer to my life, but neither can I afford to allow my identity or sense of wellbeing to be contingent on any person or circumstance, other than God. And, if God is the source of evil and pain then I’m not in good hands trusting him for my identity and sense of wellbeing.

So, what if all the evil and pain in our world is nothing more than our freedom, as humans, to make choices? And, what if all the good of our society is also the result of our freedom, as humans, to make choices? What if God has given us the freedom to make choices to our own detriment? What if God has given us the freedom to make choices to the delight and pleasure and beauty and benefit of our friends and family and neighbors and strangers – and, yes, even our enemies? What if . . .?

Well, that would mean I’m responsible for my own irresponsible behavior, and both God and Satan – and you – are off the hook for the pain I cause. I don’t engage in road rage because you cut me off in traffic, but I engage myself in road rage – or any other uncontrolled emotional outburst – simply because I’ve not learned to discipline myself and get over some little irritation or hurt or slight.

I’m not saying I like it that God has given you the freedom to choose, but I certainly don’t want him curtailing my choices. I’d also like to think that I can get into such tune with his spirit that I always make good choices and that my choices get better. But, then, I make some ridiculous choice that seemed reasonable at the time and, I end up having to pay for my choice! When the bill comes due for my choice, and I can’t afford to pay up, then I wish God had curtailed my freedom of choice.

The sad part of choices is that all too often many other people have to pay for the choices of such a few irresponsible individuals. And when the legal system is just – not vengeful but just – then the evil will be curtailed – never eradicated, but at least slowed down.

Back to my meditation . . . so, I learn to be a worshipper. I don’t just worship, but I make it a way of my intimate life. In my heart I submit every aspect and detail of my life to the beauty of my God, and I am blessed . . . it doesn’t make any difference what you do or say, I can still humble my heart to God! And I can find peace in my soul and foment peace in those around me and it doesn’t make any difference what my conditions of life are.

“The blessing of freedom is choice. The curse of freedom is choice.” I choose, “Oh God, please help me make right choices!”

Pastor Dale Pratt can be reached at dale@cedarcommunitychurch.org.

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