Many countries around the world annually commemorate a time when citizens shook off the bonds of political tyranny to establish the freedom to be their own people or nation. Independence Day in my country is special to me, because it causes me to express gratitude for all the ways in which I can freely think and act to stand up for good and love in the world.
Yet even in countries that have made gains in overcoming political oppression, it too often seems that freedom, whether from disease, uncertainty, or other burdens, is under threat. Can we truly find freedom from these types of bondage? I had an experience that helped me see that yes, we can!
Following a terrorist attack on my country, I started experiencing recurring severe headaches and a tremendous fear of crossing and being trapped on a particular tall bridge on my commute to work. I began to pray for myself, as I had found helpful in prior challenges. I’d seen before that instead of feeling helpless or in bondage to my body or my environment, I could take a stand for my spiritual independence, my God-given freedom to live and think beyond what the situation seemed to be – to look to God for a truer, spiritual understanding of reality.
As I prayed, a passage from the Bible especially spoke to me: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17). I reasoned that since God is everywhere and is all good, as Christian Science explains, there isn’t any place God’s children can be where they are in bondage to evil.
I also prayed with a passage in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper: “Love is the liberator” (p. 225). God, who the Bible tells us is Love itself, liberates us from anything unlike Love because God is the only legitimate power and presence. Evil is not more real or powerful than God, good.
Cherishing this focus for my prayers, I felt free to express joy and love in my daily activities. I realized that fear or pain could not usurp my God-given ability to reflect such qualities. Very soon, the headaches ceased, and a short time later my fear of crossing the bridge disappeared, too. I’ve since crossed that bridge many times without fear. And this experience has also enabled me to help others looking for freedom from illness and fear in their lives.
For me, the Bible has been an indispensable guide in thinking more deeply about freedom, which is a central theme throughout its pages. In the Old Testament, for instance, are accounts of Moses, who led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt; Elisha, who saved a woman’s sons from being taken into slavery; and Daniel, who found freedom in the face of an unjust death sentence.
Christ Jesus brought the concept of freedom to an even higher level. He showed that true freedom isn’t limited to the ability to do and move as one wants; it is the right to understand one’s true nature as God’s spiritual image and likeness. Jesus explained, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). All of us are the sons and daughters of God, and so are inherently free, not confined by mortal, material concepts about life and existence. This is the basis of our permanent and unimpeachable freedom.
This spiritual sense of freedom is not limited to any one group of individuals. No one is ever left out of it. We are all able to live our nature as the children of God’s creating – expressed in health, joy, love, peace, and an abundance of good – and to overcome limitations that would impede or prevent us from doing so.
Science and Health encourages: “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (p. 227). We can claim for ourselves and everyone our God-given freedom – on Independence Day and every day.