40 Years in the Desert – 2. The Post-communist Mindset 6

2.6 Improper Understanding of Freedom

Freedom is the greatest possible dream for anyone living under oppression. God created us as free human beings and our search for freedom is an unrelenting one. Yet, as fallen human beings, we tend to abuse freedom and have always done so.

When people have lived for generations under oppression, it is very difficult for them to understand what freedom really is and it is also very easy to idealise it. For many people who have lived under communism, freedom means simply the ability to do whatever one wants, without any restrictions. This, however, is not freedom, but anarchy.

There is no such thing as absolute freedom. We are all conditioned by many things in our past. We all have our limitations and there is nothing wrong with that. When we realise this, we became aware that we are not gods but simply God’s creation. He is the one who establishes the rules of the ‘game’ of life and if we try to avoid playing by his rules we will simply have to bear the consequences of our decisions, as was the case with the first human couple, Adam and Eve.

True freedom involves responsibility, for oneself and for others. Freedom also involves a price that is not an easy one to pay. This is why, when people living under communism entertain very naïve and idealistic dreams about freedom, they are simply deceiving themselves and are bound for bitter disappointment.

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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