As the years have continued to pass by, my memory has become less reliable when recalling details. Such is the case with a quote that surfaced in my mind recently. While discussing with friends the moral climate of our day, this line came to mind: “In our headlong pursuit of freedom to do as we please, we are dressing our souls in chains.” I cannot remember who made the statement or where I heard it, but its impact on me has lingered.
We seem to be onlookers as the moral fabric of our society degenerates to the place where each person is a ‘law unto themselves’. Respect for authority is on a downward spiral. Our situation seems reminiscent of days in the Old Testament referred to in book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eye” (Judges 25:21, KJV). Even in our religious communities, we seem to have thrown off the restraint of scripture and church ordinance in order to do as we please. A line from an Isley Brothers’ song captures the ethos of the day: “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do”.
A phrase from “You Light Up My Life”, Debbie Boone’s Grammy-winning song, captures the spirit of our day, “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.” A person with the slightest bit of self-awareness can recognize that the claim is utterly false. Lots of things feel really, really right at the time but are really, really wrong. A life of self-pleasing, lived outside the parameters of God’s word , has a curse on it. Noted theologian Emil Brunner said, “We have forged the shackles of sin that fasten our ankles, with the hammer called ‘freedom’.”
Let us hear the spiritual wisdom of Solomon concerning those who use their freedom to depart from following God’s way: “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak” (Proverbs 14:13-14, MSG).
Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin.
(Galatians 6:7-8, NCV)
~ Brother Roy