“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”
~Luke 22:42 (NRSV).
On the subject of free will isn’t it such a respectful comfort that God honours our dignity — the summation of his vast love for us — that he insisted that we have freedom of choice.
Restoration of eternal dignity is, therefore, not in question so far as God is concerned.
We are the ones with the moral astigmatism usurping the willingness of others. Enters does now the control freak in us.
Human Love – Characteristically Conditional
Why is it that we love in such conditional ways?
Why must we lecture people (for good instance, family members) when we know they’ll resist us, because they’re affronted by our contingent love that seeks to cut their free will off at the pass?
It is astounding how we insist on preaching at people, coercing them toward our best-thought agendas, when ours is such a limited frame.
God’s Love – Characteristically Unconditional
God, though, has the project of creation mapped and sorted and, still, doesn’t insist on changing us one iota beyond free will that was given, vouchsafed before our entire earthly existence.
Our Lord wants us to choose the holy will but it is never, and can never be, forced.
There’s little wonder that the sin of coercing another’s will procures the predictable response; the sin of pride in the one cajoled! No one likes to be told or manipulated.
The Only Exception – When There’s Right of Veto
Beyond that to which we’re directly accountable for, we must respect this human will, for God constructed it not to be compromised. We accept others’ views as true for them. If we don’t we disobey God. Our ‘righteousness’ backfires.
But, sometimes in life we’re charged with the responsibility of meting out duties. It is our task to ensure those are done, on time, on budget.
The issue of free will is not subject to negotiation in those situations. If we were to always be given precedence our world would almost certainly come crashing down through a dire lack of accountability. Free will cannot reign in the organised world.
Let Go – Let God
We must learn to let go, let God be God, and allow persons in our midst the freedom to decide from whatever bases of motivation and morality they have within them.
The restoration of eternal dignity — the respecting of free will — is our concern.
It’s our gift to others, in agreement with God’s design. It is obedience. It is our way of saying, “Lord, your will be done, (in my life) on earth (so I don’t control others), as in heaven.”
When Jesus said the Father, “Not my will but yours be done,” he fully surrendered want of control. In this is a lesson for us if we’ll hear it. It’s a lesson in restoring eternal dignity by honouring God’s original plan for relational harmony through all creation.
This free will is the fundamental basis of love.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: scientificamerican.com.