To My Young Christian Brothers and Sisters: His Life is a Free Life
By Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach
It’s tough being a “young generation” Christian sometimes. Whether you are twenty-something or in your teenage years, it seems as though life—Satan—the world is always trying to crucify you or justify how ridiculous of a person you are. “You’re too fat,” they will say. “You don’t have the talent,” others will cry. “You don’t understand,” they will call from the rafters. People will attempt, justly or not, to constrict you—to try to clip your wings from you, and you will inevitably feel and possibly succumb to that.
And not only that, from within the pews, the church might even get on you about the way you live, the way you dress, or present yourself. Sometimes your brothers and sisters in Christ will try to “help” you by telling you to do A and B to get to the desired destination, C (that would be Christ, by the way). “How can you call yourself a Christian if you don’t do this,” or even, “…you’re not a real Christian because you do this.” It gets daunting—how can we even go to our congregations, our safe havens from the rigors of the world, if they’re going to judge and condemn us too?
The answer is pretty simple, really—we don’t live to earn people’s respect, or to tick off the boxes so to speak. We focus on freedom.
If you search for the words bible and freedom using Google, you’ll get a bunch of bible verses about freedom—all of which talk about being “set free” and not worrying about the world. Which in a lot of ways is true. Putting our faith in Christ allows us to have the luxury of realizing that what the world thinks of us is generally not the same as what Christ thinks of us. But Michael, what about all the rules that we need to follow, and the stuff I learned that I need to do in church? Those are all totally valid and legitimate things we need to keep in mind as we walk with Him. But they aren’t there to invalidate our entrance to Heaven—it’s not “Welp, you lusted after a woman today so you are automatically admitted to Hell!”
On the contrary! It’s more around the lines of, “All I’m asking is that you do your absolute best to live by these values to really experience freedom!” And not freedom like, “I can do whatever I want and break rules freedom”, but more like, “I know exactly where I am going when it’s all said and done, so I don’t feel that burden” type of freedom. Being honest with ourselves, as young people, we sin probably more than anybody—we are constantly barraged by media, we are hormonal, and we are still trying to find our ways in life. Not to mention the overarching fact that we are all sinful creatures, and it’s in our nature to sin, and that absolutely no one is perfect besides God. You can guarantee that God, when he started making the ten commandments, had all of us in mind now and in the future—the Dude knows far more than any man. We’re reassured of Him already knowing our sins and failures in 1 John, 3:20 when it says, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (NIV).
Taking things a step further, all of the guidelines or “rules” that God has asked us to implement in our daily lives, if we follow them, seriously give us a lot of benefits that would otherwise be also considered a sense of “freedom”. Let’s take for example a couple of things we are told to do: “love thy neighbor”, and “live as humble men and women under Christ”. First, “love thy neighbor”—if we really take this into consideration, not loving your neighbor really cripples your lifestyle more than anything else. If you’re not acting kindly, giving help, and trying your best to be a good person for others, than why should anyone trust you? No one will want to vouch for you; no one will want to give you opportunities; no one will be there for you when you are at your lowest—loving your neighbor provides you the opportunity, the freedom, to make relationships, which in turn allows you to take paths that never would have been opened to you.
Second, “live humbly”—imagine that you are the most prideful, arrogant person on the planet. Actually, just think of people we see in today’s news and media that are arrogant and full of themselves. When they make mistakes, generally what happens is that they fall the hardest of anyone, and fail to get up. They refuse to admit their wrongs and they show immaturity; they fail to grow as people, and end up losing respect and valuable connections. Living humbly grants us the freedom to mature and grow—to become even better men and women than we were a day ago, and really make changes to ourselves that could end up not only benefiting ourselves, but the people around us as well.
What we are to make of all this then is that following Christ isn’t about the innumerable list of rules to follow like the Pharisees, or that we need to feel the weight of judgment from our brothers and sisters in Christ to feel like “real Christians”.