“Freedom is a package deal… with it comes responsibilities and consequences.” ~ Walter Cronkite
Freedom requires responsibility. Some people use freedom wisely while others don’t. Any college student can testify to the fact that there is a fine line between “Freedom” and “Free to be dumb”. Freedom can be easily abused. Organizations with healthy and productive cultures are organizations where “freedom rules”. In order to help the Galatians avoid pitfalls and make the most of their freedom in Christ, Paul wrote down some practical “freedom rules” to help guide them.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. (Galatians 5:13-15 NLT)
Selfish people will abuse freedom to take advantage of others. Because of these abuses, some organizations and even countries take measures to control their people rather than accept the risks that freedom may bring. Controlled cultures however are not healthy cultures. To be at their best, people need freedom. For freedom to be at its best, people need standards to guide them. As Christian leaders, we must first understand and appreciate our freedom in Christ if we are to lead our team with a sense of that same freedom from legalism and control.
Freedom has its greatest impact when shared among people who put others first. Paul says that the best way to use our freedom is to “serve one another in love”. The first rule of freedom is to have a culture that is based on love. In his book “Love Works”, Joel Manby explains how the seven timeless principles of love described in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 can be applied to the culture of any business or organization. If we apply these seven principles of being patient, kind, trusting, unselfish, truthful, forgiving and dedicated to each other in love, freedom rules!
Freedom motivates and inspires people to greatness. People who are free to innovate and make suggestions that improve processes or procedures add value to organizations. In healthy cultures, team members are trusted to do what’s best for the team. Mutual trust is a key factor in free cultures where people don’t have to succumb to constant control and red tape.
Finally, as Christian leaders, creating a culture of freedom with the proper guidelines in place will improve relationships and morale within your organization. To truly make a difference in someone’s life, they have to feel valued by you. Take time today to evaluate your “freedom rules” to see if you are providing the proper framework to build mutual trust. Great and lasting success is only possible where freedom rules.