In Jeremiah 34 king Zedekiah made a covenant with those who lived in Jerusalem that they should free their slaves. Those who entered the covenant did, but then demanded their slaves to return and serve them, placing them back in bondage (verses 8-11). God then reminded the people that His law stated that they were to set their slaves free after seven years (verses 12-14). He also pointed out the peoples’ error in insisting their slaves came back to serve them after setting them free and warned of the negative consequences that would follow (verses 15-17).
God reprimanded the people for bringing back their slaves whom they had set free, “at their pleasure” (verse 16), for treating them “at their pleasure”, as oppose to how God had told them to treat slaves.
We are not free to treat people “at our pleasure”, because just as God gave instructions of how slaves were to be treated, God has given us instructions of how others are to be treated. We are not free to make up the rules. We answer to God and must give Him account of how we behave towards others.
A freedom we don’t have, is to treat others “at our pleasure”.