You may be reading this article because you have followed the link from my article about the potential benefits of using free open source software. I had the inspiration to write this as a result of watching the Christian movie “The Encounter” at around the same time as I was changing my main computer over from Windows to Linux and taking greater advantage of open source software. For me there was a clear illustration of spiritual truth in the mundane things of everyday life.
When I first watched “The Encounter” (on a previous occasion), I’ve got to admit that I had a measure of reservation at the very beginning, and wouldn’t blame you for thinking the same. This is because the film portrays Jesus in the flesh as a man within a modern 21st Century scenario. It was worth overcoming that reservation however, as the film goes on to proclaim a sound and powerful Biblical message of truth. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but basically the core message of the film is about accepting or rejecting the way of salvation.
I make reference to one particular scene in the film in which there is a dialogue between Jesus and a high flying businessman. Jesus is offering for free, the same product upon which the man has successfully built his own business empire. I can’t remember his exact words but the businessman asks a question something like “Can it really be any good if it is free?”. This got me thinking.
When I shop for a particular product, there are many times when I would be wary of the cheapest option as there is a good chance that it may not be as good as something a little more expensive. Often you will “get what you pay for” and this is a perfectly reasonable common-sense way of thinking when conducting one’s daily affairs. As I have learnt from using open source software however, there is another side of the coin so to speak, namely that it is possible for something to be both free and good.
Something free can certainly be good, but it is necessary to go a step further and say that what is FREE can even be the BEST. The most wonderful example of this is undoubtedly God’s free gift of salvation. We were all sinners in the sight of God and deserving of His eternal judgement, but He has offered his free (yes – completely free) gift of salvation and eternal life to all those who put their faith in Christ Jesus. Yes it is free and it is the very best thing that any person can ever receive in life.
I might just try and push the analogy with free software a little further, though I don’t want to detract from the previous paragraph. My switch from Windows to Linux (which will feature in more detail in another article) came out of my total frustration with the way things are going and the increasing domination of the computing scene by major corporations. Since making the change I have enjoyed greater freedom, almost as if I have been released from some sort of slavery or bondage. The Christian life is just like that – on receiving the free gift we are set free from bondage, in this case the bondage of sin. We become free to allow God to change each one of us into the unique person that He wants us to be.