According to the dictionary, FREEDOM is many things:
- the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
- the absence of subjection to a foreign domination or despotic government.
- the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
- the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily
- the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity
- the unrestricted use of something
- familiarity or openness of speech or behavior
Those definitions give me great pause due to the climate in which we currently live. I think about the five Capital Gazette journalists gunned down in a targeted assault in Annapolis, MD. It was a terrorist attack not just on them as individuals, or on the paper…but on freedom of speech itself. I observe our recent associations with, and affinity for, despotic rulers who hold absolute power, and typically exercise it in a cruel or oppressive way. I watch as legislation passes and appointments are made that could strip away my rights and freedoms as an African-American and a woman. In 1776, remember neither African-Americans nor women were free, both were chattel.
Since I am an orphan, I understand the post traumatic stress that occurs when children are separated from their parents under ‘normal’ circumstances. I cringe at the detention of thousands of boy and girls in mass incarceration at the border of this Country. Yes, I know what their caregivers chose was illegal
, but our handling of it is immoral.
Many of the children are not even at decision-making age. What happened to these words emblazoned upon our Statue of Liberty? “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door
.” – Emma Lazarus The US doesn’t have to uphold principles of love and justice, and it hasn’t historically. The Kingdom of God is bound to higher standards for the treatment of strangers, orphans, prisoners, and the poor.
In these times, Christians are called to differentiate
ourselves from the government.
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” Deuteronomy 27:19
Believers know that true freedom is found in the LORD Jesus Christ, and it is not something we should take for granted. WE are free from the tyranny and domination of sin and its deathly consequences and penalties. We have been freed from our former cruel and selfish nature to live the life of LOVE that represents Christ to the world. If the Son has made us free, we are free indeed. (John 8:36) In the New Testament, Jewish Believers struggled with God’s plan to engraft the Gentile ‘others’ into His Kingdom (Eph. 2) We, as modern-day Christians have to ward against displaying similar biases and fears to keep out those God is trying to save. Some will say I’m conflating two issues. There really is only ONE issue, that’s the redemption of those for whom Christ has died. We will not win them through cruelty. If I have to choose between the US and the KINGDOM…America will lose every time. “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
Please keep these things in mind around your BBQ grill and fireworks.