Outer, inner, other. These are three deminsions of one very important word – freedom.
Outer freedom is freedom from tyranny, slavery, or any other constraint from outside oneself. This freedom is oftentimes referred to as negative freedom, as it’s freedom from bondage and goes back to another gift from the Jews. The great Exodus described in the Bible is all about outer freedom. Moses cry to “Let my people go,” is echoed ever more loudly today as we never seem to fully let freedom reign or rain, for that matter.
Inner freedom is freedom for. Inner freedom does not require outer as history has proven through the likes of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Tolstoy, The Buddha, and Jesus of Nazareth. Inner freedom is freedom for doing good and being good. Inner freedom is our freedom to choose how we lead our thought life, first and foremost. Inner freedom allows us to forgive and forge ahead. Inner freedom enables us to develop our talents to their fullest, find our purposes, engage our passions, and give them away in service to something bigger than ourselves.
These two (outer/inner) are the enablers to freedom with others. Here in lies the seed of rich, rewarding community. When we are unchained both physically and spiritually, we are able to contribute greatly to our fellow human beings. Instead of oppressing and powering over other people, the truly free man/woman figures out how to reach out a hand and pull another along. Much to ones surprise and satisfaction, this quickly becomes a two way transformation as freedom rains and showers blessings on both the giver and the given.
Today in America, we have a crisis of community it would appear. The BTL leader understands that not only is freedom not free, freedom is indeed the enemy of freedom. The more freedom we possess, the more we tend to take it for granted, or, worse yet, take it to oppress others instead of giving from an abundant, blessed heart. As we enter a week of Thanksgiving and reflect on the blessings of being in this great country, let us take up the cause of collective freedom. For those reading this with warm homes and healing hearts, lets remember to share our inner resources (kind words, sincere smiles) which take nothing but oftentimes give immeasurably.
Lets remember to give outer resources as we feel led and able. Together, we can restore our families, neighborhoods, communities, companies, and country. This is a slow, methodical process. Restoring anything always is, remember. We have great freedoms and with them (Thanks, Spider-Man) come great responsibilities. We have always been up for it as Abe Lincoln eluded to when he quoted ancient scriptures in an even less civil day to inspire us toward the “better angels of our nature.” We all have bitter and better inside. Our fullest freedom is inner, friend. Our better angels set flight from deep within each of us. Slow down and sit with this awhile. Slow down, my friend, this Sunday morning.
Outer. Inner. Other.
Thankfully, these freedoms are still a choice for us. Lets give and take care. Give and take. God, help me give more than I take. God, help me. Good…