What is freedom anyway?

Police Sketch of David Berkowitz, "Son of...

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Between the Summers of 1976 and 1977 David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz brutally murdered 6 people and injured 7 others. He was caught and confessed to, at least some of, the murders in August 1977. He was tried and given 6 life sentences, for a total of 365 years in prison.

In 1987 he became a Christian after reading Psalm 34:6. Ever since then, he has taken a life of ministry seriously. He’s not going to seminary or planning to become a pastor, but he works with other inmates inside the prison. He has been eligible for parole 5 times since 2002, but it has been denied because he refused it.

He’ll be eligible for parole again soon and already plans to refuse it. In a letter he wrote earlier this month he said, “I have no interest in parole and no plans to seek release.” He went on to say, “I am already a ‘free man.’ I am not saying this jokingly. I really am. Jesus Christ has already forgiven and pardoned me.”

Free? Really?

A “free man?” David Berkowitz really considers himself to be free? He definitely has a different definition of freedom than most of us. We would still be haunted by guilt and miserable in prison. Granted, he didn’t say he’s glad to be in prison, or even that’s where he would choose to be. He never said that he was in the best circumstance possible – he said he’s free. He’s free from the guilt of his past. He’s free from condemnation from God (Romans 8:1). He’s free to spend his time “sharing my story of redemption and hope with those on the outside.”

The Bible says, “so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 ESV). Freedom in Christ isn’t constrained the way physical freedom is. When the Son has set you free, you really are free. When you’re really free, it doesn’t matter how captive others think you are.

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