For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.
Galatians 5:1, 13
4th of July weekend is almost here; a time when we celebrate our “freedoms” as American citizens. Among many others, we have freedom of religion, speech, the press, to bear arms, to assemble, to vote, and elect our leaders. We give thanks for these freedoms as we thank God that we live in a land of “liberty and justice for all.”
Almost all of us have lived in this county all our lives. Most of our families came to America more than a century ago and some were here before our nation became a nation. Perhaps that is why it is easy for some people to take our freedoms for granted or worse, to abuse them.
Unfortunately, there is a reckless self-indulgent spirit evident in our nation today. Some people believe that they are free to do whatever they please whenever they choose – even it keeps others from exercising their freedoms. It is what I would describe as “Me First-ism.” Its motto is “My freedom, my rights, and my happiness matter, not yours.”
I shudder to think what our Founding Fathers would say about such an abuse of freedom. For freedom which does not acknowledge the rights of all people is lawlessness and destructive.
As Christians, we recognize that true freedom is ours only through faith in Jesus Christ. And this freedom comes through God’s amazing grace. We are free because neither sin, nor death nor the Devil himself, can separate us from the love of God revealed for all the world to see in life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other historic documents guarantee us many freedoms, but unless we are freed from the terrible cost of our sinfulness, which is eternal damnation, we are never really free.
In Christ, we are free to bring healing to others rather than wound them. In Christ, we are free to restore rights and free others rather than deprive and imprison them. In Christ, we are free to share a gospel of true peace and abundant life, rather than cling to a “worldly” gospel which leads destruction and death.
Please don’t be a “me first” kind of American. We already have many more of those than we need.
I believe that we are strongest as a nation when our highest values, ideals, and virtues are reflected in daily lives of all citizens. America’s greatness lies in our continual desire to be good and to do good – even at great risk.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!