My church group is studying “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller. This week’s chapter was on the perception that Christianity is a “straitjacket” that compromises our freedom. Keller’s conclusion is excellent:
“What then is the moral-spiritual reality we must acknowledge to thrive? What is the environment that liberates us if we confine ourselves to it, like water liberates the fish? Love. Love is the most liberating freedom-loss of all.
“One of the principles of love – either love for a friend or romantic love – is that you have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the “freedoms” of love – the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings – you must limit your freedom in many ways. You cannot enter a deep relationship and still make unilateral decisions or allow your friend or lover no say in how you live your life. To experience the joy and freedom of love, you must give up your personal autonomy. [...]
“A love relationship limits your personal options. Again we are confronted with the complexity of the concept of “freedom.” Human beings are most free and alive in relationships of love. We only become ourselves in love, and yet healthy love relationships involve mutual, unselfish service, a mutual loss of independence. C.S. Lewis puts it eloquently: