Sunday, 17 February 2013

5th Day of Lent - Freedom

But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. (Deuteronomy 26:6-10)

How wonderful freedom is, and how easily we take it for granted. Each morning I can decide what to do with my day. I can take my daughter out for a walk, or we can read stories, or build a tower of blocks and knock them down. We could even do all three! There is no one, but her, telling me what to do or where to go. But how often do I thank God for my freedom? How often do I thank Him that I was born into a loving family in a country where I am free to be educated, to be paid for my work, to speak as I think?

It is only when our freedoms are curtailed that we begin to recognise the wonders of freedom. When our beliefs are mocked, when our religion is used as a reason to fire us, when we cannot speak our thoughts for fear of being sued. 

As a Christian, I believe Jesus has freed me from sin and from the fear of death. Paul writes, "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). We can have all our physical freedoms taken away, but if we believe in Jesus Christ crucified and receive His grace and forgiveness, we are truly free.

However, our spiritual freedom comes with a responsibility to those who are still slaves, whether their bondage is spiritual or physical, or both. Today, there are at least 27 million slaves in the world - more than at any other time in human history. The desire to make profits quickly and cheaply has led to a rise in cheap labour. Men, women and children are trafficked across borders and sold into slavery so that we can have cheap chocolate, electronics and clothing. 

Check out to find out how many slaves could be supporting your lifestyle. It's shocking, especially when you think you've been doing really well buying fairtrade, organic, etc.

There is a fantastic article about how we can respond to modern-day slavery here, written much better than I could hope to write, and saying much of what I wanted to say in this post.

If you wish to get involved in campaigning against slavery or giving to help the campaigns, visit Anti-Slavery and Stop the Traffik.

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