“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” JOHN 8:36
I was not a Bible fan when my first days of recovery rocked my world. If anything, I was quite the opposite, arguing and ridiculing Bible promoters. I soon learned that it was not the message which I disliked, but the messengers who misconstrued, misinterpreted, and outright lied about the message.
My recovery fellowship shed light on the misconceptions which I had developed over the years of pain and brokenness. Slowly, I adjusted my attitude to a more tolerant view of Scriptures and began listening to other voices which were proclaiming the greatness of a Higher Power. Surprisingly, that Higher Power was not the same God of my childhood. My earlier concept had maligned and obstructed any reasonable desire on my part to surrender my will to God. Not until I was able to wrap my mind around a universal Essence, which they called Higher Power, was I empowered and freed by writings of Scriptures.
Many years into my sobriety sojourn I enjoyed a job on the grave-yard shift which allowed enough self direction to listen to the radio. A favorite must-hear program was UNSHACKLED from Pacific Garden Mission out of Chicago. It’s theme verse was John 8:36. There is so much hope packed into those few words of encouragement that I made it my lifetime favorite. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Initially, I associated this verse only with the power of alcoholism and drug addiction. Yes indeed, faith in the Son and living by principles of a sober fellowship had freed me from the hell of substance abuse. Over time it finally occurred to me that this very same Son had the power to also free me from the concerns of life, from behavior abuses, and ultimately from devotion to the great “me.” It was a simple but astounding revelation.
Each of us has the capacity to interpret “the Son” as directed by our conscience and our spirit. We don’t need religion nor men/women with a divinity degree behind their names to define “the Son.” But for me, a personality and human form as presented in Scriptures and clarified by ancient mystics defines with simplicity the life necessary to make me free. It tells me what I must do to be aware of dirty politics and societal injustice, to struggle with the downtrodden and oppressed, to uphold the homeless and poor, but not be burdened or controlled by those same issues. Jesus can do that. ISAIAH 61:1 defined the mission of Jesus when Isaiah wrote:
The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me.
The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose.
He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to repair broken hearts,
And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison,
“Be free from your imprisonment!”