Freedom, Love and the Gospel

Great quote from ch 4 (correction: ch 3, thanks Nick) of The Reason for God (p. 49):

Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us.

For a love relationship to be healthy there must be a mutual loss of independence. It can’t be just one way. Both sides must say to the other, “I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you even though it means a sacrifice for me.” If only one party does all the sacrificing and giving, and the other does all the ordering and taking, the relationship will be exploitative and will oppress and distort the lives of both people.

At first sight, then, a relationship with God seems inherently dehumanizing. Surely it will have to be “one way,” God’s way. God, the divine being, has all the power. I must adjust to God – there is no way that God could adjust to and serve me.

While this may be true in other forms of religion and belief in God, it is not true in Christianity. In the most radical way, God has adjusted to us – in his incarnation and atonement. In Jesus Christ he became a limited human being, vulnerable to suffering and death. On the cross, he submitted to our condition – as sinners – and died in our place to forgive us. In the most profound way, God has said to us, “I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you though it means a sacrifice for me.” If he has done this for us, we can and should say the same to God and others. St. Paul writes, “the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

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