Not long ago I read young adults are living at home with their parents at a higher rate and for longer periods of time than ever before.
I don’t get that. From an early age I craved liberty. I couldn’t wait to grow up and move out and be my own boss. Home had boundaries and I craved independence from those boundaries. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. Most parent’s goal is to have their children grow up, move out and become responsible citizens. As I gaze into the rear-view mirror of my life, I have no doubt, no doubt, my parents were ready to see me go. If I were them, I would have been ready for me to go. Let’s face it, no matter how great the parent/child relationship, starting about the junior year of high school, you just start getting on each other’s nerves. It’s supposed to be that way so the apron strings are easier to cut and parents are ready to let the chicks fly (or in some cases push them) out of the nest.
I moved to the town where I planned to attend college one week after I got my high school diploma. It wasn’t due to a bad home-life, I had wonderful parents. I was the problem not them, thinking I am free at last!! There were no text messages or even telephone answering machines back in the stone ages when I was a young adult. I talked to my folks by land line when we happened to catch each other or communicated by snail mail. Helicopter parenting didn’t yet exist. That came with my generation, because we didn’t want our kids doing what we did. The sorry truth is I didn’t handle my own freedom very well and sometimes I still don’t. Much, but not all, of the time I confused liberty, another name for freedom, with autonomy.
The summer after my sophomore year in college I chose to live at home one more time, and since my behavior was rather sophomoric (translated immature) in nature, it was a tough summer for both me and my folks. I wanted to live in their house and do what I wanted to do. Which didn’t work very well. And the funny thing was, my folks who were the truly the good guys, were the bad guys (fun haters) in my messed-up brain. Thankfully, for both them and me, in the process of time I had my come to Jesus moment and no longer live that way. Thank. The. Lord. I am not perfect, but in Jesus Christ I am new creation. And today I can see it isn’t just me who thought and behaved this way. A few years back I attended a wonderful stage performance with a very ominous underlying message. It took a famous children’s book/movie and made all the bad guys the good guys and all the good guys the bad guys. It was a great performance. But it’s not a great thing in real life. I used to live that way which was a bad deal for me and for others. And, I can see that stinking thinking wasn’t just mine and is, like a bad virus, spreading from person to person in our world today. And is far more dangerous than any virus. But it’s nothing new, I read about it cover to cover in the Good Book.
Like the stage production we have it exactly backwards. Me depending on me or other humans to decide what is right and wrong is simply a pig wearing lipstick. It may look good, but it is still a pig. Or worse. It’s more like a piranha that eats alive everything in its path. And it is an old, old story of great deception.
During the American Revolution, Patrick Henry declared, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
Freedom can only exist within a moral framework and for a period of my life I lost sight of that. I cannot do whatever I want, which is the definition of autonomy. But I sure behaved as though I could. Our culture promotes this type of thinking and behavior, which isn’t a new concept, by the way. In fact, this is merely old news presented as new news to a different generation of humans. King Solomon nailed it when he said there is nothing new under the sun. The new old news is called free will and is also known by the name original sin. And as our founding father so wisely understood, it is either liberty or death. Folks, we were warned about this long before America became a sovereign nation, in the opening pages of the number one best-selling book of all time, God’s Word to us, the Bible.
God offers us a better way, freedom with boundaries and he started with just one just one. Don’t try to be him. If we want to live in his presence, we can’t do whatever we want by deciding what is right and what is wrong or we will pay with the ultimate price, our lives. We were (are) warned in plain words, “you will surely die.” There it is, liberty must have boundaries or it blows up like a bomb in our faces. Earthly parents have boundaries because they love their children and want to spare them misery and suffering. So does our Heavenly Father. Humans desire freedom. But independence from God leads to death to those created in his image. And this death meets us while we are still in the land of the living, its tentacles reach beyond physical death and kills joy, hope, love, relationships, trust, peace, patience, kindness and so on. All the things that make life worth living. Our “independence” from God only leads to being a slave to fear, anger, resentment, pain, suffering and ultimately a slave to death itself. I can’t live in God’s house and do whatever the heck I want.
Our liberty does not depend upon us, but it does depend on us depending on and trusting in God through Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross. My question therefore is, in whose house are you living these days?
Give me liberty, or give me death.
Be joy filled always,