I think it’s because we like to single out innocents, as if they somehow justified the rest of our sins.
Atop of such a difficult concept, and it’s certainly not easy to abide, is that God is more committed to our freedom than we are.
You see, humans are naturally inclined to slavery, and while we deny it vehemently, we quickly suckle to the nearest power willing to offer us our desires in exchange for our freedoms. We cling to available powers under the premise that it becomes immoral when we are willing to act as our own, and furthermore we fear the chasm of failure that stands so openly beneath the feet of a free man, ever ignoring that there are no chains on his feet and no ceiling to capture his desire to fly.
People fear the awesome openness of freedom. It terrifies us. We don’t want to be subject to the freedom to fall. We want security from it, to sleep at night not wishing to worry about what may come. Further, we want freedom from that which requires responsibility so we can revel in that which requires none.
I, the individual, am beholden to no man or being I do not give license over my soul or my life. I, as an individual, and based upon the quality of my experience, offer those rights to a being higher than this world, an entity I designate as my God. I put my faith in Him to integrate Himself and His Will in and through my life. Through that surrender, I offer my life for His purpose, and thus trust the aperture of my freedom to His cognizance and affect.
No man, community, society or government, has any claim upon me I do not offer it. No culture or group of like people has any legal, moral or religious claim upon my life by any surmised need or purpose of collusion. Every man, from president to pauper, king to courtesan, senator to slave, is any higher than any other based on office, position or power. We are all citizens, and thus all subject to the law; all subject to the equality of existence, all free to aspire to the inequality of effort and equal opportunity of success.
God is committed to our freedom. We keep wishing He’d rescue us from everyone else’s bad decisions. The difficulty is that when God rescues us from every pain, every sorrow, every bad decision, He distorts the quality of our free will. While there is a greater plan in play, there is a balance, one He is careful to maintain for the very simple premise that he wants our love for Him to mean something more than a ticket to an easy life, something with greater depth than simple affection.
He understands us better than we understand ourselves. When he calls us children, it’s because we act like children. We are angry when God wishes to discipline us for our actions, and yet fail to see what He understands all too well — that without Him teaching us now, we will suffer without end later. Does a good father forgo discipline if he believes it prevents the child from destroying him or herself later? We demand he rescue us from every scrape, every bruise, every fight, and yet are aghast when he demands better behavior of us, as if our own Creator had any right to demand such a thing.
God created us for His glory, but he also wanted us for our love. Not because we valued our own love through merit, but because we choose to give it to Him, despite our difficulties and through our adversities.
Is it any different in our search for a husband or a wife? That we wish they would love us — not because we forced them to, or because they owed us, or because they could get money or sex at will — but because they saw the value within, and desired to align themselves to us? That they would stick with us through thick and thin and be there, however troublesome, however painful a time we may endure for the keeping of such convenant?
To deny us our freedom, even the freedom to suffer at the hands of other people, God would deny the very value of our existence — our ability to love. And it is through that pursuit that we learn to forgive, a most powerful act in the cleansing of the soul and the furtherment of peace.
Please, tonight, take a moment and consider your heart. If you were not free, if you were bound to love a God because he forced you to, or another human because you had no other free choice, wouldn’t you fight with all effort to find that freedom? To break the chains of your enslavement?
God does not enslave us, though we are free to enslave ourselves to Him. Voluntary surrender has power, submission is a gift, following can be as pivotal as leading. If we choose whom we will give ourselves to, we exercise our freedom in our own best interest. God is committed to our ability to choose, because without it, we are left as nothing more than slaves, and the love of slaves is no love at all.
Just a washing in the wind.