When you think of the word choice, does the word bondage quickly come to mind? Probably not. Here in the West choice is associated with freedom. We live in the land of the strong and free. When our ancestor’s migrated to the West they most likely did so to give there children freedom. Freedom being; having a plethora of choices. Be who you want to be!
So when I was in highschool and it was time to decide my career, I was given a series of choices. I could take a bunch of sciences so I could become a doctor, marine biologist or veterinarian. Or I could take some English courses so I could be a teacher, psychologist or writer. My choices were endless…I just had to decide what I wanted to be and then the world would be my oyster.
Choices = Freedom
But when I read the Word, God’s idea of choice is very different from what we are fed by our culture. Because He uses language like being slaves to righteousness and being a slave to God’s law. Does the word slave immediately make you think of freedom? Probably not. It is a horrible term used to describe mistreatment. It is unjust. Certainly God would have no part of it. And yet there the word stands, beckoning us to consider what He means.
Is it possible there is a Holy slavery? I redeemed bondage? One that is intended for our good? One that is designed by our Creator in order for us to find the freedom we are after? We would all mostly agree that there is freedom in boundaries, so we should be able to consider that there can be bondage in freedom.
I find it interesting noticing the subtle Western thinking in remade Bible stories. The 2006 movie called The Nativity Story is a good example. I mostly like the movie and watch it every year, but it definitely has its down falls (I won’t even get into the gleaming afroed Gabriel). The writers chose to make Mary upset with her parents for arranging the marriage between her and Joseph. She wasn’t able to choose a man she loved. Which is, of course, a Western ideal, not one that Mary in her time would have actually struggled with. Mary would have been overjoyed, because marrying meant she would be taken care of. She would have looked at this as a blessing from above.
I remember how stressed I was in highschool when I had to decide on my future career. All the choices I had…it was overwhelming. And all I wanted to do was be a mom. Which was an answer that was rejected by my teachers.
Why be a mom? It’s like a straitjacket!
And so our culture takes all our hate of boundaries and bondage and places it on the mom. Because she is the one that looked at all the choices her forefathers and feminist leaders worked so hard to create for her and said, “No thanks”! Then we point our finger at the child and call them the rope that binds the mom. They enslave her to lowly duties of snotty noses and dirty diapers.
In fact we hate the bondage of kids so much that we justify the murdering of a child in the womb of the woman by calling it her choice!
Children is what you have when you have finished “living”, after you have done everything else that freedom allows. Like making lots of money or traveling the world or finishing all your schooling. Having kids is last on the priority list because they are the means by which we are bound. And yet the only command God gave the first family was to what? Be fruitful and multiply! I don’t recall a command of “make as much money as you can and don’t forget to go to Europe!” (I say this because I used to think this way)
What I am not saying is that if you are not a full-time mom or not a mom at all, that you are outside of the will of God. And this is surely not for the couple who are desperate to have kids and for one reason or another have not been able to.
But what if we finally saw it differently. Or at least for what it really is. Because there is a freedom that exists within the bounds of parenthood that it is far greater than the bondage of too many choices.
I think Elisabeth Elliot said it best when she said,
“If our calling is to be mothers, let’s be mothers with all our hearts-gladly, simply, and humbly-like that little peasant girl Mary who spoke for all woman for all time when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary was a slave to righteousness, bound by her desire to do what the Lord commanded. Lord, let me be the same!
Picture Credit: Pic taken from freedominteractivedesign.com/