God relates to people the way parents relate to their children. If a child is very young, a parent gives orders and the child follows rules. A parent can appeal to an older child's mind and free choice. So too, God gave orders and rules to ancient barbarians. Through Jesus he now addresses human beings by appealing to their maturity and freedom.
Jesus invites our free response. The punishment for saying “no” is not arbitrary. It is rooted in our choice. Jesus grieved when people refused his invitation because his reason for inviting was his compassion for brothers and sisters in slavery. The cost of saying “no” is remaining enslaved by ourselves—by our sins, addictions, anger and lust.
Saying “yes” leads to greater freedom, God-like freedom. We become one with the mind and heart of God. We rise above all slavery. It all starts with an invitation and our response.
Set me free, Lord. Liberate me from myself. I believe in your good will toward me and in your power to do this, if only I let go and follow your lead. Lead me to greater freedom this day