Learn more about freedom and permissions
- “True Freedom” by Patrick A. Rose (ages 18 and up)
"It is the freedom to enjoy such things—the freedom to love the Lord above all, the freedom to love the truth of His Word, and the freedom to love the good in our fellow human beings—it is this which is freedom itself."
- “Four Kinds of Freedom” by Daniel Goodenough (ages 15-17)
Explores four types of freedom: free will, heavenly freedom, freedom of action and hellish freedom.
- “Divine Providence and Tragedy” by Lawson Smith (ages 18 and up)
The Lord respects our freedom because He loves us. He respects it so much that He allows us to get into trouble, and then as far as we are willing, He brings us new strength out of our troubles.
- The Lord wants us to be free to choose our path in life. People are led and taught by the Lord from early childhood, and their freedom is never taken away (see Divine Providence 164:5).
- People are free to do what is good or what is evil. Leaving a person in freedom to do even what is bad is called “permission” (Arcana Coelestia 10778). The Lord permits or allows many things to happen that He does not will.
- From our natural perspective, it can be difficult to see how the Lord can be all powerful when there is so much disorder and outright evil in our world. To help us understand that the Lord can still be in charge and yet not have a particle of evil in Him, here are a few more teachings about the Lord’s Providence:
The Lord’s Providence looks toward our eternal happiness, having “in view what is eternal” (Arcana Coelestia 7007:4).
The Lord foresees and sees all things, though some things arise from His permission and some from His will (see Arcana Coelestia 1755).
One reason that evil is permitted is so that we can recognize it and reject it. “Without permissions a person cannot be led by the Lord away from evil and so be reformed and saved. For if evils were not permitted to break out, a person would not see them and therefore would not acknowledge them, and so could not be brought to resist them” (see Divine Providence 251).
- How can we become truly free? The world tends to view freedom as the absence of natural restraints. To become truly free, we need to follow the Lord. Spiritual freedom is to freely accept the Lord’s leadership.
Projects and activities for all ages
- Picturing Freedom (ages 8 and up)
Draw a picture of the Lord leading someone by the hand.
- Like Deer Running Free Coloring Page by Marguerite Acton
Freedom is like deer running free in fields and forests
- Chains of Evil (ages 10-14)
Three ideas for picturing the way evil actions are like chains that bind a person who only cares about himself.
- Where’s Your Head? (ages 12 and up)
This project illustrates how a person’s priorities and motivation affect how they appear in the light of the spiritual world.
- The Lord’s Will or Permission? (ages 15 and up)
Brainstorm a list of events that happen in the world and identify whether each one is likely to be of the Lord's will or permission.
- Recognizing Evil for What It is (ages 15 and up)
Seeing an evil--and the consequences of evil actions--helps us recognize evil for what it is. Write about an evil that you have seen.
True freedom—spiritual freedom—is not the absence of all constraint, but rather the free acceptance of the Lord’s leadership in our lives.
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