Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness


As this 4th of July quickly approaches, I thought this post from last year was worth publishing once again:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (Galatians 5:13-15, MSG)

If you look at international strife in our current days and throughout time, you will see a long history of various forms of tyranny. Going far beyond moral codes of conduct and laws for public safety, mankind had invented new ways of enslaving and imprisoning populations for ethnicity, religion, philosophical beliefs and societal differences. Unspeakable horrors have resulted as dictators financially oppress their citizens and torture any who would disagree with or disobey them.

Knowing this, we should be far more grateful for this little 225+ year experiment in freedom we call America. We enjoy so many liberties that others crave, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to own property, a voice in our government and self determination. We have programs and services galore for the less fortunate that are sadly lacking in too many nations. Our fulfilling pursuit of happiness continues to draw countless immigrants to this land.

However, as the saying goes, "Freedom isn't free." While that's usually pronounced in the context of the faithful men and women who have given their lives for our nation, it goes a bit farther. Our freedom calls us into a great accountability. God reminds us that we are not to use that freedom to run roughshod over others, but to live in community as Jesus exemplified. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other," pronounced John Adams in 1798. When we have politicians (of any party) and individuals (of any vocation) drunk with power and thinking they know better than the people they serve, that country's freedom is at risk. When the life in "Life Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness" doesn't honor the lives of the weak and voiceless in the population, that nation's freedom is in peril. When citizens disregard their call to generosity, kindness and service, making only the government responsible for these mandates, that land has already begun to relinquish a good portion of its freedom. When self is god above all else, hedonists discriminate as to which citizens will have freedom and which citizens will be denied.

The next time the word "America" crosses your lips, think of all the responsibility that comes with the privilege of citizenship. If each of us would look to improving the way we use our freedom rather than pointing at public figures, what restoration we would bring to "Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness"!

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