Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

fear of freedom



As Americans we talk a good bit about freedom, its importance, and our commitment to it. I often wonder if we even know the meaning of the word. I'd go so far as to suggest that we are, in fact, afraid of freedom. Real freedom demands that each personally accept responsibility for guiding their own life in all its various aspects. That can be very challenging and therefore unsettling.


As a more concrete example of our fear of freedom, consider the oft repeated concern that if certain groups get and exercise the freedom to vote, the country will be worse for it. This suggestion is just one aspect of our limited view of freedom.


Consider another inherited concept: freedom under the rule of law. Clearly laws restrict and restrain; they do not promote more freedom. Those who most fervently promote law and order admit as much when they simultaneously denounce governmental regulation and its impact on commerce.  As soon as we begin to put up fences to protect ourselves, freedom is lost.


If carefully considered, it is difficult to reconcile the concepts of law and order and freedom. Benjamin Franklin probably shed some light on the apparent contradiction when he observed that freedom and security are diametrically opposed. Not recognizing that reality, we often seek security and claim it as freedom, namely the freedom from having to fear.  Our fear of others is actually a fear of freedom, the freedom of others to operate freely.


None of my observations make it any easier to understand how humanity would manage real freedom and relinquish the fear of it. That does not excuse, however, our inconsistent claims of being committed to freedom. In reality, we are much attached to our own freedom and more than willing to restrict anybody else's. That attitude may feel good but it shouldn't feel noble or like real freedom.