Whenever I think of the word “freedom”, I am reminded of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) shouting, “Fre-e-e-e-e-e-d-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m-m-m-m-m!!!” just before being beheaded. It is not a pretty picture but it’s a very real depiction. Every human has the desire to be free. Even though the right of freedom might not be there, the desire still remains.
So why would the right of freedom not exist? I can think of one reason: imprisonment. Being a former law enforcement officer, I am very familiar with incarceration. If a person commits a crime and is caught, it is up to the responding deputy/officer as to whether or not they want to arrest the perp. If one is arrested, their right to freedom is taken away and they are placed in a County Jail and sometimes prison.
Here in America, our hardened criminals are very lucky to be provided with clean and adequate jails and prisons. It speaks volumes about our country that we offer certain freedoms to those who should not be worthy of such luxuries. Despite what one might think about the justice of our justice system, they can’t deny that our inmates and prisoners do receive their rights: one hour of dayroom time every 24 hours, access to chapel, recreation and law library time, their medical needs were met, hygiene items and shaving razors were dispersed and they were served three meals per day.
When I was a cop, I could see it in the eyes of every inmate I came in contact with. They didn’t want to be there. They desired freedom. Sure, they were locked up because of what they did. And of course, some of them didn’t think they needed to be there but that was up to the judge, not me. My job was to make sure they were receiving their rights as imprisoned inmates in the County Jail, that they didn’t harm themselves or one another and that the safety and security of the facility was upheld. The female inmates wanted me to be more of a Dr. Phil in addition to my duties but that’s for another story.
Never being arrested or placed in jail myself, I cannot attest personally to having my freedom taken away. But as a human, I can empathize with those who have. Because of our free-will, we will always desire to make decisions for ourselves. Sure, a young or immature child cannot make most of their own decisions. An older child or an adult must watch over that child’s activities and limit their freedoms. This is not considered taking away a child’s freedom. This would be protecting that child from harm because they are unable to foresee the dangers their immature actions could lead them to.
When one grows up and becomes a capable adult, they achieve a level where they desire to gain independence over their own lives. When others make the majority of our decisions, it places us under their protection or in their trust. It is damaging to the human psyche when limits are placed on our very fundamental freedoms: where we can go, when we can do things, what we can do and who we can do things with.
However, with justified imprisonment, the taking away of certain freedoms is necessary. It acts as a punishment to the individual for their crimes. Justified imprisonment has been used by many societies throughout the world’s history and is usually very effective in changing one’s thought process and giving time for perspective.
However, there are times when the taking away of freedom is not justified but outright wrong. False imprisonment and slavery are two illustrations I can think of. With these two examples, the “accused” instead becomes the victim. They are innocent of wrongdoing and are therefore falsely imprisoned.
When one thinks of slavery, they are usually reminded of the 400 years of Egyptian slavery of the Israelites during the time of Moses or the slavery of the Africans by America and many of the western European countries. However, slavery still exists today. There are actually more slaves currently in the world then there were in America during the Civil War! Human trafficing and sex slavery is very rampant not only in South East Asia but right here at home in America.
There is a documentary film called “Nefarious” that will open your eyes to the reality of human trafficing and slavery in the modern world. I encourage you to check out their website: http://exoduscry.com/ It will blow you away about what goes on right here beneath our own feet.
Some people desire to be free but feel that they are slaves to their own circumstances. Take for example a woman who feels imprisoned by her abusive husband in her own home. She doesn’t have a job, so she can’t provide for herself away from her husband. Even though she craves freedom from under his abusive grasp, she is trapped in a seemingly endless cycle.
Even though she might not be able to experience physical freedom, she can find inner freedom in hope. That hope originates from God. It can be seen in the form of a helpful friend, a concerned neighbor or an abuse hotline. Sure, that’s the “Churchy” answer but it is true. God sends people in our lives to give us hope. He allows good things to happen to steer us away from despair. Sure, bad things will happen but hope, faith and promise can still exist in the midst of anguish. Like happiness, hope is a choice that can lead to desire. The desire for freedom can empower people to do amazing things.
So why would desire for freedom still exist in people who are justly imprisoned and in people who are falsely imprisoned? As I said before, when humans (and even animals and bugs) have their fundamental rights of freedom taken away (despite the reason for imprisonment), the desire for that freedom only increases. Desire has no favorites. One person may desire revenge while another may desire forgiveness. It is a yearning to act. Desire emboldens one to reach a certain goal no matter what that goal is. Regardless the reason for the yearning, the desire for freedom is the strongest hope a human can experience.