Freedom and Slavery
John Telgren

I remember sitting around the courtyard with countless cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives after dinner in the cool of the night. There were several kerosene lanterns hung up at strategic places to give some light to our even festivities which consisted of singing, storytelling, and laughter. The dark hills of the Korean countryside loomed over the large straw roof of my Grandfather's house some fifty miles northeast of Seoul.

My Grandfather sat at the head of all of the festivities. He always seemed like royalty to me. The young people would approach him in greeting and bow to him, and he would acknowledge them. He almost seemed like some sort of king. I later learned he was the equivalent of the mayor of that village, which was ten called Tap-ne-ri. But that is not why everyone bowed to him. That is not why he sat as king in his place of honor. That is not why he received the honor that was given to him. It was because of his age. He was the family patriarch. But it wasn't just his family; everyone in the village gave him the respectful greeting. His word was never taken lightly. I am sure he did not understand all of the technological changes that were beginning to happen all around him, but he was never treated as a simpleton who knew nothing. He was an honorable man who acted honorably, slowly, wisely, and received honor. Those around him gave him honor.

Now, take a look at the world portrayed in Hollywood. Does it shape our culture, or is it a reflection of it? I think it is perhaps both. You see freedom taken to the extreme. We are a "free" people, we do not like limitations, no one is going to tell us what to do. We have our "rights." The extreme expression of this is the rejection of authority, including parents. Movies often portray parents, adults, and other authority figures as idiots, backwards, and even stupid, while it is the kids that are the smart, wise, and enlightened ones. If this were true to life, our world should be a much better place. People often prefer the leadership of more youthful, dynamic, and charismatic people. Yet a quick survey of our condition shows that it had not gotten any better. If anything, it has gotten worse. Violent crimes are rampant. There are a host of problems associated with sexual promiscuity. Psychological and emotional diseases are a huge problem. Stress related illnesses kill people every year.

Ironic isn't it? Freedom can lead to bondage. We need to realize that God did not create us to be autonomous individuals. To try and do so goes against the grain of how God created us to interact with him and his world. Just as God placed limitations on the waters so that it would not cover the earth and thus provide life (Prov 8:29), God also placed limitations on us through his instructions so that we can have life. He gives us his instructions for our good. Limitations and freedom have an inseparable relationship with each other. Unchecked freedom and autonomy have a relationship with bondage. There is a very good reason that God gave his people instructions, rules, and boundaries after he freed them from bondage in Egypt. To not do so would have only resulted in further bondage. So, there is a sense in which freedom leads to slavery, and slavery brings freedom.