December 02, 2006

On Being Set Free

Luke 4:18

It is said that upon his death bed, Sigmund Freud, father of psycho-analysis, [which shaped how the world perceived how humanity was motivated by sexual (eros) and death (thanatos) drives], was in agonizing pain in his final days. Apparently, he suffered from jaw cancer that plagued him for the last 15 years of his life. He underwent over thirty operations to remove it. After specialists finally reported that it was useless to operate again, Freud pressured his doctor for relief. After all, Freud had difficulty hearing and speaking and could no longer eat. Freud’s final words to his doctor were, “You promised me that you would help me when I could no longer carry on. It is only torture now and it has no longer any sense.” So the doctor gave him large doses of morphine and Freud slipped into a coma, dying peacefully the next day.

It is noteworthy that Freud’s own theorizing provided him little solace in the winter of his life. He spoke of religion as an illusion and maintained that it was a fantastic structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity. In his psychoanalytic theory, Freud isolated two main princi-ples: thanatos is the drive towards the disillusion of all life, whereas, eros is to strive towards stopping the death drive. When one goal is reached, the other becomes out of reach, and vice versa.

At best, when wisdom degenerates to rationalism, our walk with God is reduced to an intellectual pursuit rather than a living relationship; at worst, we become indifferent, atheists or agnostics. All of these conditions are antagonistic toward God. In the Old Testament, wisdom was not under-stood as our ability to reason independently of God. Instead, it was an acknowledgement of divine revelation. Biblical wisdom is seeing life from God's perspective. Proverbs 3:5-7 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understand-ing. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

In contrast, Freud said that we may find less consolation, but the truth, harsh as it is, will ultimately set us free from false hopes and unrealistic expectations. But if the Everlasting God is true then so is His Truth, and as a consequence, all other truth fades in significance. Nothing has more profound and more far-reaching implications for our lives. Since all unbelievers are outside the moral boundaries of God, they can expect judgment. Christians living outside the moral boundaries can expect discipline. Truly, God’s love is a beautiful gift in the Son, Jesus Christ, who restores fellowship with God.

Consider, beloved, the thief on the cross — condemned by both God and man — was just hours away from death. But before he took his last breath, something glorious occurred. In the very process of dying, the criminal was rescued by Jesus, right in front of the mocking crowd. The thief’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and all of heaven rejoiced. Jesus promised him a place in paradise in the presence of God. The other thief died in his sin.

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis said, "Divine gift love in a man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable — lepers, criminals, enemies, morons, the sulky, the superior, and the sneering." Man’s philosophies, with its best intentions, cannot attain this attitude. It is solely the blood of the Lamb that one is transformed, that one is set free (Luke 4:18). Praise the Lord!

A final sobering thought: Every one of us is just a heartbeat away from dying. Have you examined your life? Are you living the darkness? Are you alone and lonely? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you in anguish and can't carry on any longer? If so, friend, trust Jesus. Accept Jesus Christ now as your Lord and Savior. He will make all the difference in the storms of your life. Will you come to Him now? It will be the most important decision you make in your entire life.

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