free to go

You are not trapped. You are free to go.

I know what it’s like to be trapped. I know what it’s like to feel trapped. The two feel exactly the same.

You can come to learn that at those times when you feel trapped, you can eventually get to a place where you realize you are not trapped at all. It is the limitation your family, your friends, your community or your society has placed upon you. But, ultimately, it is the limitation you have put upon yourself. You have adopted not only your chains, but the chains of others.

You are free to go!

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  • Chris

    Too little too late. I am free to go where? At church, my spirit has learned the lesson too well to unlearn it now. See following excerpt:

    How Baby Elephants Are Trained

    Elephants in captivity are trained, at an early age, not to roam. One leg of a baby elephant is tied with a rope to a wooden post planted in the ground.

    The rope confines the baby elephant to an area determined by the length of the rope. Initially the baby elephant tries to break free from the rope, but the rope is too strong.

    The baby elephant “learns” that it can’t break the rope.
    When the elephant grows up and is strong, it could easily break the same rope. But because it “learned” that it couldn’t break the rope when it was young, the adult elephant believes that it still can’t break the rope, so it doesn’t even try!

    Humans operate in a similar way. We learned something about ourselves at an early age and still believe it as an adult. Even though it may not be true, we operate as if it is.

  • So true! A great reminder.

  • Rhonda Sayerso

    What’s even sadder is when someone decorates the inside of the cell with pretty things and then stays…after they discover the door has been unlocked.

  • Powerful image.

  • thanks frank 🙂

  • Ben

    Great ‘toon David. But in my world the cell would be full of friends and family members creating a gauntlet path to the door, daring me to leave them.

  • Neil

    “But, ultimately, it is the limitation you have put upon yourself.”

    BREAK FREE of your chains, or your ROPE! We’re not elephants!

  • Great message.

    In my life, I have had the opposite ‘problem’: I leave a bad situation in a second, without hesitation. This obviously has protected me often but has its downsides too. In large part, this may be simply a matter of temperament. Since having children (for 12 years now) and new sense of commitment and tolerance has developed which I enjoy. My temperament has been pleasantly tamed.

    All to say, I think some of this “trapped” or “imprisoned” experience is 2-way. Some of us are more susceptible than others to being trapped. I think it is important to understand our temperaments’ role in our situations. We still need to transcend them (of course), but it may lessen our blame on others a bit if we understand that our tendencies are not universal but part of the critter we are.

  • Carol

    Grace may be free; but it isn’t cheap.

    Sometimes the price is paid in blood (red martyrdom) and sometimes its paid in social capital (white martyrdom.

    For all of us there is always a choice between secutity and freedom. That has been one of the many political issues that 9/11 brought to the front burner in the US.

    Those who chose security over freedom, and freedom may not always be worth the price especially for those responsible for the security of others, must accept the harsh reality that they are complicit in their own victimization.

    I am by temperatment one of the “live free or die” crowd. Must be the influence of my Celtic genes. The Celts have always been a wild and rascally lot….

    If I did not know that I am a genuine Dane, I could almost be tempted to explain my self-contradictions by supposing that I am an Irishman. For the Irish do not have the heart to immerse their children totally when they have them baptized; they want to keep a little paganism in reserve; generally the child is totally immersed under water but with the right arm free, so that he will be able to wield a sword with it, embrace the girls.
    –Soren Kierkegaard

  • That was great, Carol.
    I am Celt too — also of the “live free or die” temperament but my family is Welsh!
    Loved the quote by Soren K. I wanted to name my son after him but my wife vetoed that. So, not being easily caged, I have used it for his nickname which he loves. My wife just shakes her head at me. She is a not-to-easily caged Pole (also Celt, I guess)!

  • oooo ben… good analogy!

  • Jim Rittenhouse

    Why do people, almost instinctively give “churches” authority from God? Does anyone with understanding think God would authorize the teaching of the Law and judgment it contained with the Grace in the blood of Jesus? Jesus said in Matt 16:13-20 that His church would be the one built on the rock of getting truth from the Holy Spirit as contrasted by those who get it from men, be them in institutions or buildings, wearing hats and robes or just dressed in jeans. Jesus said it was “traditions of men make of NO EFFECT, the Word of God”. Just because they blow a flute we have always felt an obligation to dance? Jesus sheep really do know His voice. Sin was around before there was a Law and it had no judgment. The purpose of the Law was not a solution but rather to show men that sin was evil and unfair to each other. But, once that lesson was over for all to see, then God removed the guilt of sin. I know in your lives as much as it has been in mine, fear never made me “want” to to stop sinning. I also know in your lives as in mine, nothing ever makes you hate sin and wish to never do it like the fact that God just wiped out all judgment by ending the Law so you would never again “have to be” tormented. I really like your comment NP, “The two feel exactly the same”. Jesus true church, those that worship Him in truth (because they do it on their own desires, rather than obligation), this church that has possession of the keys to the kingdom is finally waking up and finding a fraudulent church has been acting in their rightful place. Let us not continue in the shock of this but lets take the keys to the kingdom and see what it will lock and unlock, loosen or bind on the earth, like Jesus did by renouncing His power to be come a man and then rely on God’s power working through a man to manifest the kingdom in the earth for those short 3 1/2 years. As He said, even greater works shall you do because I go to My Father.

  • That is exactly the condition of the Old Adam.

    Christ has declared us to be free…in Himself…and we just won’t have it.

    That is why so many flock to these ‘how to’ churches where they use the Bible as you would a lawnmower manual. Place verse B onto passage C, and connect verse A with Biblical Principle wrench X.

    Everyone wants to be told what to do….and how to do it.

    I’ll never go back to one of those kind of churches again.

  • Excellent. Freedom is a decision (and so is accepting the cell), but as Springsteen said, “The door is open, but the ride, it ain’t free”. I gave up ministry (paid-staff-church ministry) 32 years ago when I got fired and decided to not look for another ministry job and ended up in construction. Once it a while it was tempting to go back, but I’ve accomplished more ministry as a “layman” than I ever did on staff. The cage looks less and less inviting the longer you stay out of it.

  • This cartoon reminds me of Viktor Frankl’s description of his experience in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” When the Americans came to free them from the concentration camp at Dachau, one of the worst concentrations camps late in the war, Viktor Frankl observed that they couldn’t leave the camp at first when the gates were opened by the Americans.

    In fact they sat there for about 2 hours. He noted that it was difficult to accept the idea of freedom because they had to use such mental and emotional numbness to survive the conditions at the camp psychologically.

    When they finally were able to move toward contemplating an exit he observed two emotional reactions. Some would sob uncontrollably and others would rage.

    I have noted similar reactions from people who leave Christianity. It makes sense when you have been taught from as long as you can remember that if you don’t obey god he will burn you in a lake of fire forever. If you really believe this then your torturer is internal and you will never feel freedom under this kind of threat.

    The cost of being wrong is so great that a true believer will never risk following anything that looks even remotely like intuition. Because Christianity teaches that nothing we could ever come up with would be good because we are born with the inclination to do evil.

    This combination of belief and threat is why I will never enter that world again. Christianity is the great con that creates the very disease it claims to cure.

  • powerfully said richard

  • Jim Rittenhouse

    You are so right Richard! That is the exact sentiment! What is so insidious about this is that Churches have NEVER had a single iota of authority from God. Nothing can be more blasphemous than for them to portray that because they were trained and sanctioned by institutional religion and had education in the “traditions of man” at a university or seminary, of which ANY man can pay to get, they have been given ordination by God. NEVER was there anything less true. Nothing is more evil than to “cheap shot” authority when God is graceful to not make you burn in your place for concocting such a lie to get people’s following, money and submission.

    Now, I know God is graceful, and all of these men who would never consider if you brought it up to them would say, but still, why seek to do ultimate evil and teach man’s traditions that mislead other and destroy the “effect” of God’s word in their lives? We should all be indignant and not allowing such men to even be called brothers to us.

    Why is there this universal compulsion to call the Law teachers who ignorantly hide the Law in the cover of Grace, our brothers? For the sake of peace? Jesus didn’t do that. He said I bring you a sword to set fathers and against sons. He NEVER called the Pharisees (Phariseee = to institutionalized church) His brother but rather sons of the Devil.

    Some might also buy into their lie that you should forgive them because they are your brother. But, Jesus said they were NOT. The will of the Father is grace for everyone. They DO NOT teach that. They will say they do but you hear them teach as they did in the last generation that saw the Law. They will mention punishment which only applied to sin as long as there was a Law NEVER before the Law and NEVER after it. But their intense ignorance about this and apathy to give up the term Hell because it fill so many offering plates and the love of money is their god (mammon) (actions speak louder than words). They cannot control (<—that is evil and the epitome of it) without some mechanism just like police need riot guns to control the masses when they rise up against them. They will torture you uncaringly as long as they can control you. Just disagree with them and watch their fake smiles disappear from their fake caring evil money hungry faces.

    I know they do it ignorantly, but it is STILL evil and how can evil be boasted upon or deserve a morsel of honor whether it is ignorant or not? It is still evil and should be publicly shamed.


    David!!! You did it again—sent me exactly the message I needed…..
    At 7:15 Am Friday, I resigned from a leadership position in a professional organization—-because of problems within the organization. At 8:04, I got your cartoon——reminding me, that now my task is—to leave it……

    I know that your cartoon is about much more serious questions, within the church—–but still—it speaks to me, in my place….

    Thank you, thank you

  • Tom

    This is perhaps the best cartoon depiction of Seligman’s psychological concept of ‘learned helplessness’. Very interestingly his first experiments were carried out on dogs in cages. Whilst these would be considered nowadays, I think the findings help explain much church-related behaviour, especially staying longer than one should… certainly my own experience. This also reminds me of other interesting concepts such as the ‘effort justification hypothesis’ and common ‘confirmation bias’.. well worth a look if interested! See this link for basic info on first concept:

  • Tom

    *considered unethical, it should say