Those words may seem unrealistic . . . overly optimistic . . . childish . . . completely outside the realm of reality . . . but they are true. When human sin took our freedom away from us and we hid from the only chance we had at regaining it – repentance and a relationship with God, He was compassionate and loving and showed this to us by sending us His Son who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Our freedom is within us and has been won for us by Jesus Christ. In living in His great love and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior, that personal relationship breaks the chains of bondage that we placed around our true selves and the eyes of our hearts can then see that the door is not closed and locked. We are indeed free! My internet access has been down for days and is supposed to be down right now. I’m believing that the reason I am able to check my email and be online just now is to read the following quote which I was just sent and am sharing with all of you:
Free your heart from hatred — forgive. Free your mind from worries — most never happen. Live simply and appreciate what you have. Give more. Expect less.
– Stephen Covey –
Jesus died on the cross convicted of our sin. Forgiveness is hard. We or I tend to feel so hurt. I don’t like it, and nor does anyone else. It’s hard to feel the pain and realize I have to also forgive. “They” did hurt me. “They” willfully chose to. I am a victim, so why should I forgive? God wants to carry the heavy stuff for us as a shepherd carries the burdens for the sheep in his care, so our Lord God wishes to simplify things in our own lives. In choosing not to forgive, we are carrying a heavy load which we are so weighted down with that we cannot live into the real and amazing life He has for us. I know this because I carry pain just as all of you have done at some point. In forgiving I am not saying “what you did is okay” but only saying “I release this to your loving hands, Lord God. The life you have for me and my personal walk with you is so much more important to me than this load that’s holding me back.” The sheep in this world can’t carry their own load. What a mess life would be without the shepherd. They’d get into dangerous situations, find no rest, likely be hungry and unable to find food or drink. What a worrisome life. But, the shepherd takes it on himself and leads, protects, provides food, drink, and rest. The sheep trust him, know his presence and his voice, and live in the love and care of a shepherd . . . . free!
In our Lord God, we can be like those sheep and He is our Shepherd. In releasing our burdens, our worries, our hurts to Him, we are free to live a much simpler life. The path will not always be green pastures and the waters will not always be still, but we will never be lost for His crook is right with us and when we stray, He will draw us near. He will guide us through the uneven slopes. He will feed us and meet all of our needs. We truly are free – for the freedom we seek is within us. How can we find it? He is the Way!