Rachel Rose

Poet | Blogger | Artist

Month: August 2017

The Beauty and Destruction of Freewill

Freewill: A beautiful gift that has the power of destruction.

Humans have little power, and yet the freewill we have has the ability to break our world. Sin is highly destructive.

The belief that we can do whatever we want is shouted in American culture as we hold on tightly to our personal autonomy. We can say what we want, do whatever we want (at least regarding our own bodies), and others have no right to tell us how to live.

Not Everything Is Beneficial

Sometimes we fail to consider how much we may be hurting ourselves in the process. Freewill does give us the option to make any decision we want, but that doesn’t mean we are actually free (but that is a whole other blog).

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial…
1 Corinthians 6:12a

In this verse Paul was specifically talking about sexual immorality, but the verse can be applied to every decision we make. For instance, under the 1st amendment I have the right to say whatever I want. However, insulting others under the banner of freedom of speech is not beneficial. Sometimes we shouldn’t do the things we have the right to do.

The Destruction in Freewill

In Ephesians, the Bible talks about taking off the old self and putting on a new self. Beginning in Ephesians 4:25 there is a deeper explanation of things we are supposed to “take off” and things we are supposed to “put on.”

Characteristics we are told to take off include falsehood, stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, slander, sexual immorality, and greed. Characteristics we are told to put on include speaking truthfully, working/doing something useful with your hands, building others up, purity, kindness, compassion, walking in the way of love, and thanksgiving.

Now line all these things up side-by-side and you get two lists. One side is overwhelmingly negative (but may seem appealing in the moment). The other is overwhelmingly positive (but for some reason we resist or ignore.) I promise you the old self, our sinful nature, is what drives war, broken hearts, division, selfishness, and pain. The new self brings joy, forgiveness, reconciliation, care, and peace.

God Wants The Best For Us

Often times we want to hold onto many of the pleasures in life that God instructs us to take off, but God wants us to turn away from our sin (2 Peter 3:9). He wants us to have a life that is so much better than we can imagine. God gives us this guidance, because He loves us and wants to protect us.

Freewill is a wonderful gift, but for some reason we are drawn to things that hurt others and us. I can’t tell you your life will go to shambles for living in the old self, but I can assure you your life won’t go to shambles because you are living in the new self. For example, I can’t tell you your life will be damaged from partaking in drunkenness. I can tell you your life won’t be damaged by staying sober.

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
-Proverbs 19:3

Furthermore, we often get mad at God for the consequences of own actions. Sometimes our personal freewill to live in sin causes pain in our own lives, but we blame God for it.

Proverbs 2:11 states, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” God’s rules often seem annoying and unappealing, but He ultimately is trying to guide us to the best life. When we listen to His guidance, we gain wisdom.

The Beauty In Freewill

The question can be raised ‘How can there be beauty in freewill if it leads to so much evil?’ I will never know or understand all of God’s decisions, but I do know God wants a relationship with every single one of us (1 Timothy 2:4). He wants to love us and for us to love Him (Romans 8:29). Without freewill, we cannot chose to love God. We would be forced to love Him and that is not love. He didn’t want to create puppets.

God’s word cries out to anyone who will listen with guidance on how to end the wrongdoing that hurts us. However, He gives us the option to choose something other than Himself. He gives us the ability make mistakes and learn how much sin can hurt. Ultimately, our freewill is evidence that God desires genuine relationships.

Complacency Needs To End

Everyone can agree that what happened this past week is heart wrenching. White nationalism and acts of hate disgust me. Yet, complacency disappoints me more.

Examples of Complacent Mindsets

Complacency is pervasive in people who claim to be not-racist, not-homophobic, not-sexist, not-xenophobic, not-some other prejudice. Complacency can be found in the following examples:

  • The person who won’t call a black person the N-word, but says racism is practically over, or that we have come a long way and people should stop complaining.
  • The person who has a black or brown friend, but is uncomfortable around other black and brown people.
  • The person who agrees Trump’s campaign was hateful, but thinks everyone is being too dramatic.
  • The person who won’t sexually assault you, but participates in the slut shaming behavior that promotes rape culture.
  • The person who recognizes the prejudice in themselves, but doesn’t do anything about it.

Complacency breeds an atmosphere that allows the horrible to happen. All kinds of people can be complacent in different ways, but us white folks are MAJOR contributors. When I look at the lukewarm way people react to hate in this world, I better understand why God does not want lukewarm disciples.

Understanding Complacency

Complacency is “uncritical satisfaction.” Complacent people live happily in the world by turning a blind eye. Too many people in our country are comfortable in ignorance, because ignorance gives a false sense of innocence. People can even try to be loving and remain complacent.

Signs of a complacent person include: defensiveness, ignoring, invalidating, disengaging, and lack of accountability. Complacency is often a side effect of privilege. If we can completely ignore a problem, then we are not experiencing it.

The end to complacency begins with an end of comfortable ignorance.

Ending Complacency

To end complacency within ourselves we must be willing to be wrong and we must be active. Ending complacency cannot be passive, because complacency is passive. We must begin educating ourselves. We must listen and engage with people different than us.

Asking one token friend or acquaintance their views on racism and other social issues is not enough to end complacency. Too many people rely solely on the few friends or acquaintances with different identities they have to learn about the experiences of others. Constantly repeating the basics of your existence to people who struggle to understand or do not desire to understand is exhausting. This cannot be your only source of education. We need to listen to many different people.

Beginning the Learning Process

The good news is there are already a lot of people out there talking. You might not be physically with them, but with the internet there are so many ways to begin learning. From there you can bring some base knowledge to conversations in the future.

I have resources at the bottom of this page to begin listening to the voices already out there. You don’t have to agree with everything you read or hear to begin understanding where people are coming from.


Ending hate cannot be achieved. However, we can become more uncomfortable with hate than we are comfortable sweeping it under a rug. We can begin to create an atmosphere that is not ok with complacency. We can begin to break down divisions. Uprooting complacency is a process and educating ourselves is only the beginning. The next step comes in our interactions with others and society. Don’t be too daunted to start the process. Every step counts.

Video Resources: Listening to Others

Origin and Manipulation of Race

Experiencing Bias

First Person Account of White Privilege


Implicit and Explicit Bias

This is only the beginning, but it is a step in the right direction.

Don’t Change Jesus To Fit Your Ideology

Conservatives often believe people should complete hard work to deserve what they receive. Liberals often believe people deserve basic human needs, such as housing, food, and healthcare. Jesus’ love says, it doesn’t matter what a person deserves, love them as if you were loving me (Mathew 25:40). We cannot place Jesus into a political ideology, but we can form a unique political ideology as a response to following Jesus.

As Christians, we need to learn how to love others in a radical way. We need to stop talking about what people deserve or do not deserve. Why? The liberating life of following Jesus is not about what we deserve, it is about living in the grace of God. If we all got what we deserved in our imperfection, we would get death, but Jesus died for us so that we may experience life. So, let’s shift the conversation away from what we deserve to the example Christ has set for us.

God Wants Us To Act, Not To Blame

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
-Proverbs 16:24

Did you know the Bible says there will always be people in poverty walking the earth (Deuteronomy 15:11)? God provides this information so we will give to those in need, not so we can become complacent about people living in poverty. Part of being gracious is recognizing people sometimes fall into (or are born into) hard times they cannot control. God does not want us to blame people we don’t even know for their own hardship (Proverbs 11:12). Instead He expects us to use gracious, kind words that can help bring healing to people in addition to giving.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
-2 Corinthians 8:13-15

God wants us all to work hard and give whenever we can (Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 3:27, 1 John 3:17). That way our blessings can be blessings to others, and if we are ever in need our neighbors can also give to us. Now that is a beautiful form of community.

God Does Not Want Injustice

Better is a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
-Proverbs 16:8

God detests people who make gains through wicked schemes (Proverbs 6:11). Sometimes I think we forget that wicked schemes can be made at high levels (such as the government). It is better to have little with righteousness than to gain a lot through injustice. God knows there is injustice in the world, and injustice exists on small to nation-wide scales. Nobody can control where they are born into the current structure of injustice, but we can control how we respond to it.

A good start to understanding how injustice works is by listening to people different than us and recognizing their experiences comes from a real place. Once we make this recognition, we can then try to work for justice rather than ignorantly gain from injustice. Sometimes the gain can be as simple as an unfair advantage. God’s wisdom in Proverbs 16:19 says, “Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed, than to share plunder with the proud.” If you purposely gain from injustice, then a change in your heart needs to happen in an extent further than this blog can address.

Shaping Our Ideology Around Jesus

The world is a hard place to live. Followers of Christ have the option to follow Jesus’ example and love in a counter-cultural way. A way that says, I will listen to your struggle, but no matter why you experience this struggle I still want to show you love. Why? Because we want everyone to know the source of where this love came from: Jesus.

Jesus cannot be defined as conservative or liberal. We cannot twist who Jesus is so he will fit a political side, but we can chose to conform our political beliefs around who He is. The best way to love cannot be found solely in liberal or conservative ideologies. Jesus’ love can be found in providing healthcare to those that cannot afford it. Jesus’ love can be found in warning people not to dehumanize unborn babies. Jesus’ love can be found in welfare programs. Jesus’ love can be found in the way we view others, if we chose to view others with mercy and grace.

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