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Taking the Opportunity to Use Your Goodness

We all like the idea of being free to make our own choices about how we live our life day-to-day. But, we should stop now and then and determine if we are putting our freedom to good use. This review reminds us not to waste our freedom and presents three questions to help you assess yourself in this regard. 

Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, who spent over 20 years in prison before he was elected, explained that our freedom carries a responsibility to use it to help others with these words: 

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, 
but to live in a way that respects 
and enhances the freedom of others. 

Nelson Mandela

Are You Doing Your Part?


We have to admit that many of us take our freedom for granted. We get up every morning and go about our business without stopping to think about the freedom we enjoy or to give special thanks for it. Worse, some of us abuse our freedom by using it to say or do things that hurt others. Freedom is a wonderful circumstance that provides those who live under it with many opportunities. But it’s the choices we make under the banner of freedom that determine how worthwhile that freedom will be. So, an important question for you is this: 


Are you putting your freedom to good use?

As you consider your answer, pause and think about the millions of people around the world who have virtually no freedom at all. More than 11 million Syrian refugees have been driven from their homeland due to war and oppression and are wondering if they will ever find a home again. There are more than 5 million people in South Sudan who can’t even think about freedom because they have so little to eat. Millions of citizens are displaced in Ukraine because of the senseless aggression by Russia going on there. And, there are millions of others—here and abroad—whose freedom is being infringed upon in some way.

The point of including the examples above is to remind us that there are many people whose freedom is being infringed upon in some way or taken from them in some way. And they have little or no freedom at all. Therefore, those of us who have our freedom should be thankful for it and make sure we use our freedom in good and helpful ways.


Three Questions for You


Therefore, those of us who are truly free should place a high value on the condition. We should consider carefully how we are using our freedom and if we are putting it to good use. Here are three questions whose answers will help you determine if you are using your freedom in positive ways:

Q1: Are you helping others? 
There are people right around you whose freedom is hindered in some way. They aren’t free to be the best they can be because of an obstacle they are struggling to overcome. Maybe they need financial support. Maybe they need someone to help them find a job. Maybe they need a better place to live. Maybe they need help in accomplishing some goal they have for their life. How much time are you devoting to helping someone in circumstances similar to these?


Q2: Are you broadening your knowledge and expanding your understanding? 
To be free to think is great, but the benefits of that freedom can be limited if we don’t have the knowledge or understanding to take advantage of it. With so much information coming our way, we have to make the choice to reach beyond the tweets and texts to read important books, research pertinent topics, take online courses, and review other materials that provide us with an informed view of the world and the events taking place within it. Brandi L. Bates, author of Amid the Cacophony of Cries, gave us this personal observation:


Wrote my way out of the hood. 
Thought my way out of poverty! 
Don’t tell me that knowledge isn't power. 
Education changes everything.


Q3: Are you working to do something special with your life? 
It is my belief that our lives have an intended purpose and that our interests, motivations, and the needs of others point us to it. We have to look deeply at our lives to determine if we are using our freedom to identify that purpose and make it a reality within our lives. Richelle E. Goodrich, writing in Making Wishes, explained that freedom gives us this choice:

You are here to make a difference, 
to either improve the world or worsen it. 
And whether or not you consciously choose to, 
you will accomplish one or the other.


So be sure you are using your freedom wisely . . . by helping others, by increasing your knowledge and understanding, and by working to identify the intended purpose of your life. It’s freedom that provides you with the opportunity to do these things. Don’t waste the opportunities that freedom provides.


By Michael L. Nelson and Chris Peppel
© Copyright 2020 Living with Goodness, Inc
All Rights Reserved

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