What Freedom Really Means
It has been one year since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and Malaysia has been in lockdown – on and off – since March 2020. With this strange new lifestyle, we’ve seen its many upsides and downsides on our society.
For many, the lockdown has brought good benefits. Workwise many are glad to be more productive at home, as they save on travel costs and commuting time. Online businesses are also doing well, with the stock market being robust as people actively trade stocks.
The dark side of things
However, there is also the negative and dark side to lockdown. Mental health issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts due to financial loss and marital issues have been on the rise. This has led many to find solace in the wrong areas and give in to temptations.
On the news we hear of increase in domestic violence and rape cases. Children are particularly vulnerable, having to stay home during lockdown with their abusers. In a certain state, incest cases doubled over the various MCOs.
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This is causing us as a nation to look hard at our family lives. Pornography use, meanwhile, has seen a surge. As people spend more time online at home, it has surfaced that Malaysia ranked No.4 in the world for the highest number of porn searches during the first MCO in 2020.
These would suggest that many are in bondage to destructive habits during lockdown that are causing harm to themselves and to close family members. Is this just the result of boredom, restlessness and anxiety? Or could it point to something deeper about the nature of our hearts?
What the heart really wants
The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In another place it advises, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
In our fallen nature, we’re unable to discern good and evil properly. And as we’re all subject to feelings of rejection and loneliness – more so when we’re stuck at home – we can easily fall prey to temptations like sexual images, because they provide a false intimacy that only God can provide.
In the 16th century, Spanish priest St John on the Cross wrote a series of prayer poems called “Dark Night of the Soul”. It touches on feelings of rejection and abandonment by God, and notes that God refines and perfects our spirit to be more like Him in times of spiritual bleakness.
What freedom really means
Throughout human history, men and women are looking for freedom and want the ability to make our own decisions. Ironically though, our version of freedom without Christ has led us to bondage, becoming slaves to sin and unable to do what is right, before the Lord.
True freedom is allowing God to take over; first by accepting His death on the Cross as the payment for our sins, then by submitting and allowing His power to change us. As St John on the Cross says, we are sure to fail as Christians and experience dark nights, but it is during these valley experiences that God will work to bring our spirit into union and love with Him.
However dark our nights may be, there is still hope. We can choose to be free, not by following our deceitful hearts, but by following Christ.
About the Author
Brenda Law is an educationist who perceives herself as a learner instead. She is often lost in the joys of constantly learning and simplifying her life. Brenda loves nature, animals, good books, music, food, as well as writing in her free time.
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