Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He wrote, “Freedom is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.”
Frankl spent three years in Nazi concentration camps and saw the worst of the worst. Here his mother, brother and wife all died. When he writes about freedom and responsibility it is with a great deal of passion and experience. I remember as a young man trying to find my way and looking for answers in the 1960’s, I read Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ It was over my head, but I still recall his insistence that we can find meaning to life even in abstract, brutal and hideous circumstances. That was then, and is now, a tough reality to work through. But life’s meaning as well as freedom is deeply grounded in responsibleness.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus