A couple of years ago we watched the BBC adaptation of Little Dorritt, a story which starts and centres in the early part around the debtors prison, but as we watched the story unravel it became apparent that everyone within the narrative were in some senses prisoners. Some maybe in gilded gages, but none the less still very much prisons that hold captive and enslave.
What of us, what of me, am I enslaved by anything? Or, if we’re more honest, what are we enslaved by? Are we even aware of it?
The film the Matrix portrays all of humanity caught as a slave to a system that gives them an illusion of freedom. The Bible talks of us all being slaves to sin, Paul speaks into humanities addiction which controls us “the good I want to do, I don’t do, and wrong I don’t want to do I do do!” (Rom.7).
As enslaved people we are controlled and our ability to make good, free, healthy choices is impaired.
As I read the story of Pharaoh enslaving the Israelites it is clear that he is also a slave to his fears and paranoia.
Fear (like guilt) is a very bad motivator, yet something we all feel from time to time. What is scaring us and making us afraid at the moment? How is fear affecting our choices and how we treat those around us?
Much of the writings of liberation theology and writings of politicians such as Nelson Mandela talk about true freedom sets free both the oppressed and the oppressor.
Fear holds us captive and often causes us to lash out and hurt those around us. Oppression is contagious just as much as fear is divisive.
Fear makes reasonable people behave in unreasonable ways.
Fear creates knee jerk reactions often which are foolish, blinkered and prejudiced. This Pharaoh’s fear driven choices caused the death of his son and grandson.
Fear makes us think it is all down to us where faith reminds us that even when it doesn’t look or feel like it God is in charge and he us good, all good.
Scripture talks of “perfect love casts out fear” knowing God’s presence with us brings peace -a peace that passes (trscends in some translations) all understanding.
The story of Moses is a story of liberation, but one could argue that although they were liberated after the first passover their true liberation of hearts and minds took much longer.
To imagine a new life, with a new identity, and seek to live it out in everyday reality is our inheritance bought by the blood of the cross and the power of the resurrection.
Jesus is our great liberator, Paul says “those whom the Son (Jesus) sets free shall be free Indeed!” but how do we live in the freedom that Christ brings?
We remain prisoners in our hearts and minds when we cannot imagine a different future from what we have always known. We need hope of a different future and path, we need what the Bible calls ‘the renewing of our minds’, whereby we make every thought captive to the blood of Christ.
Freedom often is not a one off badge we can sew on our jerseys but rather a way of life with God, won for us by Christ but lived out each day, step by step.
Have we discovered that freedom in Christ, and living differently.