When the famous French statesman wrote this, he was speaking from a purely political standpoint. “Rousseau asserts that modern states repress the physical freedom that is our birthright, and do nothing to secure the civil freedom for the sake of which we enter into civil society. Legitimate political authority, he suggests, come only from a social contract agreed upon by all citizens for their mutual preservation.” Obviously he was referring to a more literal interpretation of his statement, emphasizing the necessity of freedom.
Until very recently, humans have enslaved each other, stripping them of their dignity and right to live freely. After much protest and bloodshed, human slavery has finally been abolished in the modern world, and seen in a negative and inhumane light. This is a relief to many people, knowing they are now free to live, eat, breathe, worship and study as they desire.
Sadly, however, slavery has returned. In fact, it never really was eradicated. Brave individuals may have won the battle for human rights and freedom, but several have not found freedom with their personal struggles. Some are bound by a chain formed by links of their past, crippling them from moving on and experiencing the life that is awaiting them. Others are bound by addictions.
When a baby is born, the parents have high hopes for their newborn. No parent plans on their child becoming a drug addict. No parent wants their child to get into an abusive relationship. No parent wants their child to kill themselves in a moment of hopelessness. No parent plans on their child becoming a rapist or serial killer. A newborn, with all its innocence, brings thoughts of hope and plans for success to its parents.
With time, however, that little baby grows up, and at some point is introduced to the first link in a chain that will only become longer with time. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe his parents stop being there for him because they have their own problems to worry about, but it leaves a lasting impression. Maybe her father left her mother, leaving her to value herself less and search for the missing love in illicit relationships. Maybe he is bullied at school and gets into a gang to “prove himself.” Maybe she begins starving herself because he thinks being thinner will make her more popular. Maybe his friends offer him weed, and he smokes it, to retain their approval. Maybe they both turn to alcohol to drown their feelings of abandonment, loneliness, depression and need for love.
These people weren’t born broken individuals. They were born free. As life began wrapping its tentacles around them, however, the chain grew longer and tighter until the only thing they could do was add more links, hoping something would snap.
What is the solution? For those who believe in God, Jesus sought to bring freedom from sin by offering himself as a substitute for the punishment we were sentenced to endure. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may gave life, and have it more abundantly.”
There is hope. No matter what you’ve been though, no matter what you’ve experienced, no matter how tightly the chains are wound, no matter how many links are on the chains, no matter if you even have the energy to break free—there is hope in the sacrifice of Jesus and the gift of God’s love.