True Freedom: Exists in the Heart

Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela after 27 years in prison said:

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

Many people walk away from relationships still imprisoned by their bitterness and hatred.  Mandela showed it is possible to remove such evils from our hearts.  We may even feel we wasted 27 years of our life in a relationship, but if we don’t leave that bitterness and hatred behind, we will certainly wasted the next 27 years still enslaved by our own emotional attachments.  Christ offers us a different way, a way of love in which we liberate our selves from any slavery to revenge, retribution, or even justice.  Sometimes in life we have to choose between liberty and justice.  Mandela choose liberty.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offers us another insight into how this liberty can work.

“Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”    (The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956)    Liberty sometimes involved containing the evil another person represents rather than constantly trying to  be victorious over it.  Our desire to “win” sometimes is a form of slavery.


Salvation and the Worth of a Soul

Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215AD) writes:

“…Salvation does not depend on external things – whether there be many or few, small or large, shiny or dull, valuable or cheap. Rather, salvation depends upon the virtues of the soul – faith, hope, love, brotherhood, knowledge, meekness, humility, and truth. The reward for these is salvation.”

(The One Who Knows God, p 26)

Our salvation is not dependent on how many icons we own or venerate, how many prayer books we have, how many things we’ve donated to the church, or on the authenticity of the cross we wear, on having a prayer rope, on how many books we’ve read, on how big our icon corner or wall is, nor on any other number of things.  Salvation is a matter of the heart.  We can have a right relationship with God even if we own nothing.