shutterstock_189356462“I can do anything I want”, shouted the 10 year old at his older brother. “And you can’t stop me!”

Freedom, individuality, and not being constrained by financial, social or spiritual norms reflects the basic nature of man and woman.

I recently read the story behind the men who are represented in the Iwo Jima Memorial. There was nothing glorious about the war or the individual circumstance of those young men. The majority of them died before they reached 21.They lost their lives defending our freedom.

Clearly there was significant cost for them and there is the challenge of keeping a close eye on our freedom now and for our children.

As a History major I can roughly catalog the great sweep of the leading civilizations. Achieving personal freedom was seldom at the heart of the rise of the civilization and its leaders. Power, pride, and personal gain seem to be the leading motivators, whether they be personal or cultural.

Isn’t it amazing when you look out over the known history of the world, how few people had enough personal freedom to determine the course of their own life?

As the 4th of July approaches, it is easy to wax eloquent about the history of our country, its heroes, and the greatness of our “free” society. Yet, there are societal signs that are worrisome and require ongoing vigilance.

There are some who frame the issues in a way that uses “gun control” as the touch point of personal freedom. Clearly the issues of personal responsibility is then raised as the challenge for each gun owner. The power of the state to impact this discussion is another issue worth considering. It is so easy to let, “someone” else take care of this or any other issue. However, I know that the responsibility must start with me and extend to each and every citizen.

The reason freedom isn’t free is because there is always someone who wants what they don’t have. We then have the responsibility to deal with that challenge. The recent shooting of the minister and 8 other church members in Charleston is a case in point for each of us that shares Jesus as the key relationship in our life. While all the issues are yet to play out, the way the AME congregation is defending their personal freedom has two elements:

  1. Asking that justice be served and
  2. Expressing forgiveness to the killer

How truly amazed the news reporters seem to be, and how proud I am to be called Christian along-side them.

As Christians, we have available to us the wisdom of Jesus. It is that wisdom, when exercised, as we see evidenced in Charleston that identifies the strength of purpose. That strength of purpose is evidenced by those boys raising the flag at Iwo Jima and the personal Christian integrity being evidenced by the congregation in Charleston. Those examples give me the encouragement and confidence to play my role in keeping freedom free.

As I reflect on the 4th, on our countries beginning, it is the freedom to choose coupled with the freedom to take action that separates America from so much of the world. As Christians, we each make a choice about who we follow, and then yes, what we are doing to promote the cause.

Be blessed on this Holiday. Take a moment to reflect on your role in keeping our country free and perhaps the role you are willing to play in the process.

Discovering our Future Together,