The Crossroad

 

Back in my proud, atheist college days, my favorite retort to any Christian, trying to share the Gospel with me, was: "That is bondage! I don't want that! I want to be free". 

Looking back on it all now, I am amazed that I actually thought I was free when, in fact, I didn't even know the meaning of the word! 

Which reminds me of Harriet Jacobs. Have you ever read her great classic work: Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlIt's part of our wonderful American Literature. It is Harriet Jacob's autobiography and what a shockingly blunt portrayal it gives of life as a slave on a plantation in South Carolina. 

Her opening line is just classic: "I was born a slave, but I never knew it until six years of happy childhood had passed away." 

Isn't it incredible? Her father hadn't told her. Her mother hadn't told her. "I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise..." 

Finally, at the age of six, when her mother died, Harriet Jacobs overheard people talking about her...and it suddenly dawned on her that she was 'owned'! That she had never really belonged to her mother and father. She belonged to an 'owner' like everyone else in her family; with not the slightest shred of 'liberty'! 

But—hold on!—don't get too shocked about Harriet Jacobs' discovery, because we have a discovery to make ourselves...about ourselves! 

We have been "shielded" as well. This world keeps telling us we are wonderfully 'free'; and that the less we care about God and his ways, the better. The less we worry about the consequences of our choices, the freer we will be! 

Our Bible gives us such a different message. Jesus Himself sets the record straight on this:  "Truly, truly I say to you: whoever commits sin is a slave to sin." Jn 8: 34

And yet somehow we think of ourselves as wonderfully free! What a sad delusion that is. Kids start taking drugs thinking it will bring a new level of 'freedom'. The alcoholic keeps thinking he is 'free': he can quit anytime! The angry husband, the abusive spouse, keeps promising never to do it again, thinking himself 'free' to fulfill that promise! The sad anorexic keeps telling herself she can eat whenever she wants; whatever she wants; she's perfectly free to do so. Except that she never does! 

Let's face it, it is the illusion of freedom—not freedom itself—that causes a husband to click on the porn; that makes a woman promiscuous; that causes any of us to make our wrong choices. We think we are free, when in fact, we are 'owned'! 

The German poet Goethe put it well: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Listen, dear ones. America is making a frightful choice right now: as a nation and as individuals. When we choose to turn from God—and we are!—we follow a road called   "Bondage", and our children will follow it too. And every so-called 'freedom' is just one more link in the chain. 

Sometimes it's a road people choose. Sometimes the road seems chosen for them. Sometimes it looks like there was no choice at all, that they were forced down this road by circumstances or other people, or upbringing or even DNA! But it doesn't really matter, you see, because the end is always the same! The destination is always the same: hurt and heartache, brokenness and destruction.

But praise God! Here is the good news, dear traveler: There is a crossroad! And—oh!—if you can take it! That Road is called 'Liberty'. No, it won't be the broadest road you've ever taken, and not an overwhelmingly popular one either, because the downhill road will always be more inviting. But—oh!—this road is straight, and true, and good, and it will always lead upward! 

That is the road you must take! 

The Road to Bondage is a winding thing. It doubles back upon itself, following every whim and temptation, twisting and turning all over the place and, so, often it intersects with the other; with the straight one; the good one! Time and again, that crossroad will be there: presenting itself for yet another choice. God in His grace has ordained it so. Time and again, you will face that decision. 

How many times have you come to it now, dear reader, and chosen to stay with the road you're on? 

You know what I see. We are living in a world that switching the road signs. It's happening all over America today: people are switching the signs to make sin look like freedom, and forgiveness and peace and liberty look like bondage. Oh, it happens all right. I know! I fell for it myself back way back then! 

I'm so grateful for that crossroad, aren't you, dear ones? I love how Jesus followed up that warning of His: Yes: "Whoever sins is a slave of sin...but (oh, that blessed negative conjunction!) but if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."   Jn 8: 34;36

See you Sunday!                          RAS

Kneeling in the Snow
Give me the Puritans