What we often think of as freedom is mere slavery to our vanity. We are addicted to those things that make us feel free -- the rush of indignant outrage, the euphoria of vindication, the savor of being right. Like self-conscious teenagers who cannot pass by a store window without glancing again at their reflection, double and triple-checking that their curated look remains intact, so too we are all consumed with our image. If we can only identify with the right people, hold to the right opinions, pay lip service to the right causes, then maybe we can be counted among the righteous. Just one more peek at my reflection, one last reassurance. How terrible is our idea of freedom. But true freedom is not an idea. True freedom is not bound up in feeling free. It’s not connected to our appetite for feeling righteous. True freedom is an escape from vanity into the giving and receiving of mercy. True freedom is slavery to mercy and the Merciful One.