Jack Freed used this quote today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words – “There are two freedoms…the false where one is free to do what he likes; the true where one is free to do what he ought.” (Charles Kingsley)
I suspect that, upon reading that quote, most immediately thought of the first example of freedom that the quote references. Indeed, it is that self-centered, self-righteous and uncaring definition of freedom to do whatever we like that is at the root of much of today’s political and social turmoil. The “freedom” that some proclaim they are seeking is really a form of anarchy, with little to no concern for the welfare of others. They say, “I’ve got my health care covered and I don’t care about you having none” or maybe, “I’ve got a home and food on the table. Go find your own place to live and food to eat, but don’t bother me.” That is not really freedom; it is a formula for the failure of a society.
So, how is doing what one ought to do – caring for others, helping others, sacrificing for others – the real freedom? It begins by first accepting Jesus into your life, as written in John 8:32 – “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
But, free to do what?We can see what we ought to be doing in the Bible in Galatians 5:14 – For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And, again in Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Maybe figuring out what we ought to be doing isn’t that hard after all. The hard part is letting go of the self-interest and self-centeredness that is so prevalent in our society today.
Freedom is not all about you doing whatever you want. It’s about you seeing what needs to be done to help others around you and taking what actions you can to provide that help. Maybe you are barely providing for your own family with what you make at work. You probably still have some spare time that you could use to help others. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, drive for Meals on Wheels, work in the local food bank sorting food or maybe stuffing food in backpacks for the local Blessings-in-a-Backpack program. There are tons of ways to help others available in any community.
Do what you ought to be doing and what you know is right. Start by embracing Jesus in your life and the rest will come naturally. Set yourself free.