In his movie masterpiece ‘Brave Heart’, Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, who at the end of the story sacrifices his life calling for freedom. Living under the rule of a tyrannical King he has never known freedom, he has only found the ability to dream of it, thinking it was always out of reach.
Recently we’ve been exploring the story of the prodigal son. We’ve rediscovered the power of community, learning that church is a safe place, a place where we belong, a place where family is. By God’s design we were made for fellowship, relationship, community. Laying aside these core values the prodigal departs home, trading peace for torment, he finds himself making friends with farm animals. He trades ‘sonship’ for ‘slavery’. He swaps freedom for chains and wakes up with the pigs feeling short-changed and filled with regret.
I’ve been there. I’ve betrayed heaven for less than thirty pieces of silver. I know regret.
Within these moments, we learn something hidden in forgiveness; we were never meant to be slaves.
In John fifteen Jesus asks us to “remain in Him” — it’s a warning that our humanity tends to want to depart. Our nature, our desires, if untended, become unfruitful. We lean towards self-destruction. We trade freedom for slavery in moments of misdirection and ambition. Christian writer John Eldridge comments, “the reason Jesus urges us so strongly to “remain in Him”, is because He knew we might not.”
So tonight, I reach for Him, blessed with a gift that sees me free; reminding myself I was never meant to be a slave.