Many believers find it easy to cite biblical texts to
illustrate how we should live, but it is not so simple to talk about Jesus, His
extraordinary life as a human being who lived amongst us, and his values of
humility, love, mercy and the many qualities that we are urged to follow and
practice in our daily life. To mention the heroes of the faith is something we
do habitually, as we take pride in the victories that our religious heroes gave
us in the past.  But are we fully and
consciously living all of the precepts that guided these men and women of the
past? Are we sufficiently original and capable of transcend our generation? Is
our behavior as Christians worthy of being emulated by others? Is our
contribution to the society in which we live worthy of He, who offered to
humanity the greatest of all sacrifices-,His own life, in order to provide
abundant and eternal life to everyone, regardless of race, social status ,sex,
nationality, culture, etc.? What is God demanding of us?  How do we show each member of the society in which we live, each person that we want to bring to Christ, that we are completely free and that to make ourselves masters of this freedom is precisely that which will make us masters of our country, our humanity and our rights?

It is the knowledge, understanding and comprehension of the truth that gives us the freedom enjoyed by Jesus Christ, which was used to defeat the powers of His era.  He says in the Gospel of John chapter 8, verse 32: “You shall know the truth and the
truth shall make you free.” Truth is associated with knowledge of His
Word, but only to the point that we are no longer just hearers of it, but
remain in it, can drink of it and be transformed in it, acquiring a genuine way
of life that makes a difference, that leads us to be disciples of Jesus, free
from sin and also free from the powers of this world. Our life becomes subject
only to Him who has given it to us, and even were we to share His fate, once we
are free, we are stripped of fears and doubts. We can not forget that the
religious people of Jesus’ time proclaimed themselves free, “followers of
Abraham,” but the powerful impact of the Word, true and strong had no
place among them. God put his powers in full evidence and showed us who was
who, and how they responded. The passage of Jesus through this world shook to
the deepest foundations both the religious Jews and the Roman rulers.

The Word of God has been used throughout the centuries by
powerful groups to manipulate and subjugate the people of the world.  Give
to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s “is one of the verses
most used to keep people under the yoke of slavery to the majority. Perhaps
Paul was referring to both religious power, and political power, when he said
in the First Epistle to the Corinthians 7:23: “… Do not become slaves of
men”,  and at all times urged us to keep our freedom, the freedom that Christ accomplished for us at the cost of his own blood: “Stand fast therefore, in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be  entangled again with the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)   Paul suffered persecution and imprisonment,
but the Word of God has always been a solid wall against which crash the
hypocritical speeches of the God-like tyrants, but Paul advised us that that he
was a prisoner of Christ alone, because no being human in this world could
imprison his freedom.

In Chapters 12 and 13 of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul
teaches us about our moral obligations (Chapter 12) and then shows us what our attitude should be towards the authorities, incidentally, a text that has been
manipulated by some rulers for their own benefit. Two important points should
be highlighted: one, that our attitude towards the authorities should be
submissive and two, that governments are instituted by God. It might seem that
opposition to our leaders, is the same as our opposition to God, or even that
God is in collusion with tyranny by punishing the opposition and through them
the people. But although Paul clearly says that the ruler is “a minister
of God for good”, some regimes like that of Adolf Hitler in Germany, or
Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain and other dictatorships here in Latin
America, and including that which has poorly governed Cuba these many decades,
do not fit into this definition.

The author John H. Yoder, in his fabulous book, Jesus and the political reality, states:

“The rulers are to govern, guide, care for, protect, supply, serve”. But these
structures do not serve man as they should. They do not enable men to live
freely, humanely, lovingly.  They have tried to make themselves absolute and they demand an unconditional loyalty of the individual and of society. In the end they harm and enslave men. We can not live with them. Looking at the human situation from within, it is inconceivable how man, once unconditionally subject to these powers, can again become free. “(published by Ediciones Certeza, p. 107)

Jesus showed us how to live in freedom, free from the bonds imposed on us by this world which impede the realization of a full and decent life. He has given us that life has shown us true and perfect justice, which we must seek in our society, and desire for all, without distinction of any kind. His own behavior shows us how to serve the needy, the beaten and those who are trampled by those who held the scepter, and not to bow before any human authority that  tries to interpose himself amidst the Divine plan of redemption. In the words of the apostles Peter and John to the Council (Sanhedrin) after being arrested: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

It is essential that we gain this freedom already won by our Redeemer. It is necessary for every Cuban believer to arrive at a full awareness of the role he should play within this society which is battered by the winds of a harsh dictatorship that gives itself Godlike powers, claiming for itself the cheers and praise that as Christians we owe only to the Lord. It is essential for us to show who is living in us, and not with mere words that can be carried away by the winds or by oblivion, but with deeds. And nothing
would be a better start than to transform ourselves an indestructible and
community united to support and defend our members, without regard to the
material costs, letting go of the institutional structures and prioritizing the
human element, sustaining each other, so that the rest of the people of Cuba
would also believe. We must break the commandments of the regime and create a
body that can hold everyone, all without having to call ourselves revolutionary

It would be a terrible shame if what happened in the time of Jesus were to be repeated in our country, although it has been repeated many times in human history. In my opinion Yoder focuses us, quite correctly,\ “On the death of Jesus the powers of the Jewish religion and Roman\ politicians plotted together “(Id 110). The powers of this world always act in opposition to the truth, wanting to disarm the people of the freedom that God offers. How dark and sinister these idols turn out to be, these
figurines of power, and how they sicken those people who support them!  Jesus was more free than his captors, even as\ they led Him to His death.. And we should be as free as our Savior.

As believers, we owe total obedience only to God, and\ lest anyone be confused, we should not bow our heads, much less in the case of arbitrary commands that are contrary to our dignity, our morals and our Christian principles. In obedience to God we will fight to create a better country and procure at all times the welfare of our citizens. The door of salvation is always open to everyone, and we will never ask what is the political creed of the person who wants to accept Jesus, because political
ideas are secondary to the condition of brotherhood which unites the children
of God. My greatest desire is to see a church in Cuba that is truly redeemed,
emancipated from the human powers that are trying to destroy it.  A church that does not makes pacts with the false gods of this world and only obeys its true God, a Church that can not be permeated by dictators in order to achieve, as suggested by Berkhof:  “Any resistance and any attack against the gods of this century will be fruitless unless the church becomes itself, a resistance and attack that demonstrates in its life and in the fellowship of men how they can live free from false powers. (Id. at pp above. 112).

Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez

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