Driving along a road to nowhere in particular, there are signs with a number surrounded by a red ring, they are speed limits. And according to the laws of the land they are a safe recommended maximum speed to travel at. What do you do? Travel at that speed or ignore it and perhaps travel faster.
When we travel over that speed we feel invigorated, we feel in control, we feel a safety (for ourselves) that we believe is OK, we feel that we can manage ourselves and not in need of another to dictate to us what speed to travel at. Could we feel trapped by authority becoming a slave to the speed limit and want to retaliate? Perhaps we might feel free.
But is it true freedom?
“Freedom is not doing whatever you want to do. Rather, authentic freedom is choosing the right thing.” John Paul II
Let’s think about that a little further. When we chose freedom (by speeding) are we rebelling?
The act of exceeding the speed limit is rebelling against the laws of the land. Are those limits arbitrarily set? No, our leaders working with organisations to manage safety/design etc. and work to create a framework for a safe and orderly community for each road user. They are working to our common good both as a driver, a passenger, and other road users around us.
So, when confronted with goodness (from our leaders) what is the condition of our heart? Do we recognise the effort and time to help us as individuals and as a community? Do we then choose to travel at a speed exceeding the limit?
However, it does go both ways funnily enough.
When we see those speed limit signs do we back off or stick to them like glue? Why, perhaps we want to simply avoid a fine?
Again, let’s look at the condition of our heart, are we exercising freedom by sticking to the limit if fear is the motivator? I don’t think so, are we not still feeling trapped but in a different kind of way?
So where does the reason for our choice reside?
Is it not reasonable to suggest that if we recognise the common good and value it, that we’ll positively choose (with no shackles) to follow the speed limit? True freedom comes through our understanding for good to make the right decision.
What else in life do we need to apply this understanding of freedom?