As we approach Election Day 2016 the political rhetoric has grown to a cacophony of angry words, politically expedient sound bites and social media threads filled with bullies, trolls and shame. I’ve also noticed that we LOVE to talk about our rights and freedoms. We wax poetic about constitutional amendments and rights provided by the founding fathers. Our rally cry is usually “Don’t tread on me” and inevitably my rights and freedoms become the more important than the people I am beating up with them. We don’t want to be restrained, chained or restricted from exercising our freedom in any way.
Here’s what I’ve observed about this Freedom we love so much….it more often than not leads to a sense of entitlement and pride. Pride in our Nation, for sure, but more than that pride in ourselves and our opinions. A sense of entitlement that grows out of our “rights” instead of a humility and seeking the best for others.
This pride and entitlement that comes from elevating our rights and freedoms can blind us to the suffering and brokenness of our nation and communities but more than that….
This pride and entitlement blinds us to the suffering, brokenness and sins in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Freedom is awesome. I am SO thankful to live in a nation where it is legal to worship publically with my faith community. I’m thankful that I can choose to vote, drive, or shop at certain stores and boycott others. The freedoms I have been given by simply being born in the USA, by no effort of my own, are astounding and I am humbled as I reflect on the privilege I have been handed.
Yet I fear that for many of us, who call ourselves Christians, we have mixed the freedom and rights we have been given by being US citizens with the Freedom and responsibility that comes only through Christ and being a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
As an American my freedoms are based in the Constitution and the laws of the States. I have them because of people who have worked to protect them and I am so thankful for that.
My true freedom, however, does not come from a piece of paper or the law of a nation. My true freedom is found in Christ.
My freedom is founded in the unfailing love and compassion of God demonstrated through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I may be a citizen of the USA, home of the free and the land of the brave but more than that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. A daughter who is free because of Christ, because of grace, because of the great love of God.
This grace that brings freedom is what will always open our eyes and draw us back to humbly serving others before ever asserting our own will, freedoms and rights. Let us, as followers of Christ, keep ever in the forefront of our minds and hearts that our freedom is not found in an earthly nation but in the living Son of God. We want to remember where our real freedom is found so that we will be ever aware of our need for a savior.
Sisters and brothers let us celebrate our nation but more than that let us embrace and be thankful for the freedom that comes from accepting the love, compassion and grace of God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1