Escondido, CA

‘Setting the record straight’



“FREEEEEDOM!” was the cry from William Wallace as portrayed by actor Mel Gibson in his epic movie “Braveheart” just prior to being ex­ecuted by the English magistrate. The Scotsman’s valor in the face of torture and death deeply inspired the future king of Scotland to eventually over­throw the English, winning the Scots their freedom in the early 1300’s.

As was the cry of Wallace, so also is the cry of every enlightened Christian. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).” Jesus was speaking in the third person. He’s the Son of God and He’s the One who sets the captives free (Luke 4:18).

“Free from what?” you may ask. It’s good that you ask because this topic is one fundamental to the Christian faith.

Christian freedom is taught in the Bible in a few different contexts, e.g. being set free to engage in any activity that is not expressly forbidden in the New Testament (as long as the activity glorifies God).

In John, chapter 8 where the above- mentioned quote is found, Jesus is conveying a different context though, and that of being set free from the power of sin! What is sin?

The transliterated word from the original language that is used the most is hamartema which means “to miss the mark” and, well, we’ve all missed the mark of God’s holy standard for “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23).”

Now that sin has been defined, let’s get back to Jesus’ teaching. He claimed that there is a power behind sin which enslaves (Romans 6) and that He will set free those who follow Him.

IMAGINE… You’re being almost literally dragged by some invisible force to the refrigerator or the comput­er screen. Why did you have to take that detour on your way home? You had no choice because you’re a slave.

Are you suffering from a past trau­ma that you can’t afford to even think about? It’s as if you don’t have the ability to forgive. And you don’t be­cause you’re a slave. (So, you justify the state you’re in with Bible verses taken out of context! LOL, I speak from experience.)

Are you beating yourself up due to a mistake made that ill-affected you or someone else? You feel imprisoned by the feelings of guilt and shame be­cause, well, you are.

Is there a glob of unworthiness that you can’t eradicate? You read the books and went to a therapist or coun­selor, but to no avail.

Do you still feel empty inside af­ter earning that promotion or finding your mate or acquiring that expensive shiny sparkly new brand-name item on credit? Perhaps the convict behind bars feels more liberated than you.

Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for Jesus because He set me free! There was a time when I de­cided to follow Him unconditionally and it cost me my life and now I live a whole new life and He set me free! Free to live. Free to love. Free to be used by Him to set others free too.

“FREEEEEDOM!” was the cry from William Wallace, and as was his cry, so is the cry of every enlightened Christian, of whom I am one.

~ Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 22 years and have three children age 12 years and under. Jacob (12), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 11 years and love Harley motorcy­cles and good music. They pastor Es­condido’s very own Sanctuary Church.

~ Any questions or comments re­garding the story? Got an idea for a story we should write? Email us at Or check us out on the web at

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