Rejecting Independence

scottish independenceThe United Kingdom will remain united. Yesterday, Scotland voted to reject independence and maintain its union with Great Britain, maintaining a united kingdom which had been established for 300 years.

As the time approached for Scotland’s historic vote on September 18th, 2014, the world voiced their opinion as to whether or not they thought that Scotland should vote for its independence. Nuclear arms and world economics were among the significant topics which drove the rest of the world outside the United Kingdom to fix their eyes to see what the outcome might be.

Seeking independence is nothing new. My own country, the United States, was formed when colonists sought their own independence from the monarchy of Great Britain. At the heart of independence though, it’s a battle that has been fought by humankind since the very beginning. According to the biblical account of Adam and Eve, independence was at the heart of their rejection of God’s covenant, creating a chasm between Creator and created.

We generally think that independence is a good thing. As children grow up, they seek independence from the decisions of their parents. There is great fulfillment in the milestones along the way that they achieve such as obtaining a driver’s license, being able to vote, finding their first job, and eventually getting married (although some might reject marriage and see it as a means to reject independence as well). We constantly want to be autonomous as individuals, making our own rules so that we are no longer encumbered by restrictions.

Even the latest Disney animated film “Frozen” has the main character singing, “No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free.” Freedom is worth fighting for, and in the words of William Wallace, “They can take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom.”

But is it possible that we could be more free by maintaining our dependence? Is it possible that rules and restrictions might actually result in more freedom?

In his letter to the believers in Galatia, Paul reminds them that it is for freedom that we have been set free. We are no longer bound by the yoke of slavery but are set free in Christ. Our dependence on God can actually make us more free, we are no longer encumbered by the weight of slavery to sin.

But it doesn’t make sense for those who are seeking to be fully autonomous. We reject anyone else’s governing or ruling of our lives. We reject the idea that somebody might know better than us. As we grow and mature from children into adults, we believe that we can gain the same wisdom and insight that our parents had, but there is always someone wiser, someone whose insights exceed our own.

In maintaining dependence and rejecting independence, we acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own. We acknowledge that we are better together. The wisest man that ever lived affirmed this position when he wrote that, “two are better than one.” He even went a step further, stating that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

I’ve always told my wife that we are better together. We may do things separately and apart, but when we team up, we find so much greater success at certain things.

In the same way, when we as individuals team up together, we can get more accomplished. I’m not discounting the importance of acting as individuals with our specific gifting and talents, but how much more effective can we be when we use those gifts and talents in collaboration with others?

Yesterday, Scotland rejected its independence from Great Britain, successfully giving us a model to say that it’s okay to stay together. After all, two are better than one. Maybe we all should take a page from Scotland’s playbook.

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