The Problem with Free Will


Everyone I know is for free will.  It is one of God‘s great gifts to us, and yes we cherish it…for ourselves.  If we are being honest, we have all wished that God would “dial down” the amount of free will given to others while  maintaining the fullness of the gift for ourselves.  We trust ourselves to handle the implications of our choices on others, but we do not trust others to be fair minded with their use of the gift.  Therefore, others must be restrained while we continue to fully enjoy all the benefits that free will offers.

Really, who can be trusted with free will unconditionally?  Would we not all make self-serving decisions regarding distribution of resources, I.e. food, clothing, housing, medical care, etc?  Our ego-centric life styles say that we do not share resources as well as the first century church did.  Ironically, the only person who could be trusted with free will was the God-man, Jesus Christ, who set an example for all of us with regard to selfless living.  He used free will to heal people, feed people, forgive people, even the ones who crucified Him, because they know not what they do!  Now, as for me, I do not come anywhere near that standard.

Even though I am clearly unqualified to exercise free will in a just way, God wants me to have free will.  Even though it makes it possible for me to turn my back on Him and use free will to do monstrous things, the upside was so irresistible to God, that He had to bestow the gift.  You see, the upside is that having free will, I can choose to love God and follow his precepts.  I wouldn’t be programmed that way, it would be my choice.  Having the full gambit of opportunity, I can choose to love God back!  I still need his help, but being chosen to have this gift and choosing wisely (as He foreknew) I can now be reconciled to the Father.  This was the highest perceived use of free will.

But the problem with free will is that not everyone chooses wisely.  Some use it to enrich themselves, or to inflict all manner of evil unto others.  This self-serving manner of living cannot be reconciled with the Gospel of Christ.  The good news is that Jesus came to give relief to the poor, the broken-hearted, the downtrodden, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and all things mentioned in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-6).  Not everyone pleases God in their use of free will but God does not rescind the gift for those.  A deal is a deal.  God will strive with them to show them the error of their way, but He will not violate free will.

Now, why am I telling all of you this?  Frequently, someone will say, “Why does God allow this to happen?”. They are referring to the latest tragedy in the news, or something closer to home.  Well, to be fair to all, some one caused it by exercising their free will to do so.  If God were to prevent the event by cancelling free will, He would have to do it unilaterally and universally.  You would no longer have free will either.  We would all be robots, following commands sort of like angels, with no choice to opt for Jesus or not.  Salvation by choosing a saviour would not be possible.  Our world as we know it would not exist.
This is far from a perfect world, but we are just passing through.

I still struggle with the finer applications of free will but I am learning to share more.  I want to be one who helps victims of evil recover from their peril.  My prayer for all of you today is that we will partner up with the Holy Spirit to do Christ-like things in our circles.  So that people will know that God sends His people to deliver others from peril.  Let us have no more talk about why God “allowed” it.  Amen.

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