Posts Tagged ‘self-love’

Freedom’s Menace

November 28th, 2012 3 comments

In this series of blog posts, we have been highlighting some of the main points from Os Guinness’ latest book, A Free People’s Suicide. In the last blog, we discussed the great paradox of freedom; namely, that freedom’s greatest enemy is freedom itself!

You might ask, “How can this be?”

As we observed, true freedom requires restraint, and the only form of restraint that does not contradict freedom is self-restraint. Herein lays the problem. When freedom is re-defined to mean license, or the right to do whatever I want, then self-restraint becomes a worthless commodity.

POGO described it this way: “We have met the enemy…and he is us!” The fallen human heart is the heart of the problem. Blinded by our own self-love, freedom is viewed through the jaundiced lens of what is best for ME. Guinness observes:

“America today is a republic in which the private trumps the public, consumerism tells Americans, “It’s all about me,” and citizens constantly tell the government to “get off our backs” when the government is their own justly chosen representative and it supposedly governs only with their free consent. In such a world, self-love will always love itself supremely, love itself at the expense of others and love itself without limits.”

Freedom rooted in self-love will eventually devour itself. A freedom that bows to no authority and submits to no outside constraint, according to Guinness, is both “disordered and deranged…and a mortal menace to the society that harbors it.”

Perhaps this explains why the growing secularization in America is accompanied by a radical individualism which waves an ever-increasing list of demands for new rights and freedoms. When God is jettisoned, Self becomes the new King. And “When men will not be governed by God,’ as William Penn so acutely observed, ‘they will be ruled by tyrants.” Tyranny is the fruit of our radical devotion to the imperial Self.

Jesus Christ is the only one worthy of your joyful obedience and complete submission. When He rules the passions of the human heart and His commandments serve as a guide to our behavior, we are empowered with the strength to restrain our selfish desires and to live for His glory and for the good of others. This is true freedom.

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