Many years ago, I read an article where the author postulated that school uniforms actually gave students more freedom rather than less. Such a conclusion seemed absurd on its face. How can restricting what you can wear give you more freedom? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the author was correct.
If you define freedom as being able to do whatever you want to do, then uniforms clearly restrict such freedom. But absolute freedom simply does not exist – anyone that tries to exercise such “freedom” will likely end up in prison. Freedom is always constrained by rules, traditions, boundaries and, of course, the law. So, freedom is always exercised within a set of constraints. Can such constraints be freedom-enhancing or are they always freedom reducing?
Consider an example that I personally experienced. It involves – school uniforms! I went to an all-male military high school and we naturally wore uniforms (and kept our hair short). There was no flexibility. The uniform of the day might vary depending on the weather, but everyone dressed exactly alike. Then, my senior year, girls were admitted. They had a uniform as well, but it involved a skirt and knee socks. And there was more flexibility. There was a limit as to how short the skirt might be, but not how long. You had to wear knee socks, but it wasn’t clear just how high they had to be pulled up. There was also a “no cosmetics” rule, but cosmetics can be subtle. So, for the boys, nothing changed. We wore what we were supposed to and that was that. But the girls were constantly messing with their skirt lengths, how they wore their socks, how much make-up they were going to try to get away with and how they wore their hair. There were various temporary fads that many of the girls tried to conform to.
See where this is leading?
I read an article this morning. Apparently, feminists have decreed that warning women not to drink during pregnancy is “sexist.” It wasn’t long ago that those on the Left, including feminists, were publicly shaming obviously pregnant women who ordered drinks. This is just one of many “rule changes” that have occurred recently.
How free can one truly be if the rules keep changing? If the rules change, how do you know the new one is better than the old? Or that the new one is not going to be replaced by yet another one? Which rule is the right rule? Which rule is better?
Most of us know that Jesus said the truth will set you free. But the entire quote is critical. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32).
If we let Jesus and the Bible define our rules, then we are truly free. We don’t have to worry about changing rules. We don’t have to wonder which of those rules might be the “best.” God’s rules are the best and they are unchanging.
For many years, most of the rules, traditions and boundaries of American culture were at least loosely based on God’s word. If not immutable, they were relatively fixed and constant. Those days are long past. Our cultural norms are no longer norms. They are in continual flux. The rules keep changing.
Do you want to be free? Don’t try to conform to a culture whose rules change from year to year and even from day to day. Don’t pretend that God’s rules change as the culture changes. Build your house on the solid rock of God’s truth and then you will truly be free.