By Tim Thurman: Today I celebrate freedom.

I have just spent the last year incarcerated. Six months in “Big Pen,” then six months under house arrest, where I have not been able to go more than 50 feet from my residence.  Many people take freedom for granted; I promise you, I do not.

Today, my house arrest ends, and I am a free man.

Yet, am I truly free?  Do I really believe that?  My incarceration is over, but I forever wear the red badge of a convicted felon.  My time is complete, but I still fear a past that haunts me.  And I fear the future, unsure what kind of approval I’ll ever receive.

Except -- we do not need to live as slaves to fear. I choose to follow Christ, and because I know he loves me and forgives me, I can be free from worry, free from the need for approval, and free from the labels that society places on me. I am free from my past, and free to face the future with the hope of a second chance.

Today, as I remove my house arrest bracelet, I am free in the physical sense. But when I consider God’s love, I realize I’ve been free all along.