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We are not God’s puppets

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
May 28, 2019

WE are children of God, and not his puppets or robots. The freedom he gives us is real freedom because it can even enable us to go against the true nature, source, meaning and purpose of freedom itself. We can use it – or better said, misuse or abuse it – to go against God himself.

While it is true that God is always on top of things, he allows us to use our freedom the way we want it. Remember those famous lines in the Book of Ecclesiastes that articulate this truth: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (3,1)

Even if he is on top of everything, he does not treat us as his puppets or robots whom he controls. He treats us as his children, for that is how he has created and designed us. We are supposed to be his image and likeness.

As such, his dominion over us is a dominion of love. It is a dominion that is akin to that of the parents over their children, but much, much better than that. In fact, it is infinitely better.

There is some forcefulness involved there, but one that is not coercive. There is obedience and docility involved also, but one that does not compromise freedom. When we obey God and follow his will and ways, we do it because we want it and we know that it is good for us. Yes, there is some fear involved, but not of the servile kind, but rather of the filial type.

This dominion of love comes as a result of the abundant and gratuitous outpouring of God’s goodness over us – his grace, his blessings, his inspirations, etc. He is full of compassion, slow to anger, quick to forgive.

He provides us with everything that we need, especially the things that we most need in our quest for true happiness, our ultimate salvation, our fulfillment as image and likeness of God, children of his.

It is because God loves us first that we learn to love him and others in return. It is this love that enables us to live and use our freedom properly. And this love-inspired freedom leads us to our true joy where truth, beauty and everything that is good for us are integrated.

This love-inspired freedom makes us realistic with the realities of our earthly life where there will always be mixture of good and evil, successes and failures, joy and sorrows, health and sickness. It’s not afraid of suffering. In fact, it welcomes suffering. Neither does it spoil us when we happen to have good things in life.

We understand that freedom as the freedom of the children of God, where we are willing to unite our will with the will of God. We would never feel that we are enslaved or tied down by God.

The unavoidable conditionings that our earthly life entails will never be regarded as limitations. They would be assumed willingly and lovingly. They would be regarded as means and occasions to further our development as a person and a child of God, despite the cost, inconveniences and sacrifices that they may involve. In short, they are seen as what would enhance our freedom, not what would deter it.

To be sure, God does not want us to be mere puppets and robots of his. He wants us to be like him, full of love and goodness. We just have to understand that for our freedom to be true freedom, we have to live and exercise it always with God’s will and ways in mind.

That is why we need to develop a close relationship with him who actually initiated an intimate relationship with us. It was he who started that relationship. We just have to try our best to correspond to that relationship, in spite of our weaknesses and mistakes.

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