What is freedom? I guess it depends on what you are talking about. Freedom doesn’t have a nice universal definition. Freedom can refer to political freedom, freedom in relation to the justice system, freedom in terms of free will, freedom related to sickness and addiction, freedom after something compulsory is completed, Christian freedom, etc.

While there may be core theme that relates to all of these things, they are not the same. Freedom means being free from something and/or free to do something. Free means not compelled or forced to do something.

Because freedom is used in such a variety of ways, it tends to get confused. Too many people have a certain understanding of what they mean when they use the term, but then apply it to other freedoms, sometimes when they probably shouldn’t. Most conflicts erupt because two people/parties have differing definitions for the same word.

Political freedom and Christian freedom are not the same thing, for example. Political freedom has to do with elections and rights and responsibilities. Christian freedom has to do with salvation and serving our neighbors. They may be related, but they are not the same thing. If our basis for understanding freedom is political freedom and we apply that to Christian freedom, we’ll end up with an understanding of Christian freedom that mirrors political freedom. We’ve seen that all too often in recent years. Christian freedom just becomes another extension of a membership in a political party.

Christian freedom is not the same as political freedom. This shouldn’t surprise us. Love means different things too, depending on what it is you are talking about.

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