Independence Day historically has been a celebration of the freedoms we as Americans are blessed with. A time to consider what it means to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
With all the upheaval over so many things lately, I’ve thought about why I’m grateful to live in America. I’ve come up with ten thoughts on how I view freedom. I’m not overlooking the challenges many have here, but for me, it’s a privilege, not something to be taken for granted.
Freedom is fragile.
- Freedom allows us to be who we are with the opportunity to speak and believe as we choose without unnecessary external restrictions. It’s a gift given and experienced in the community; no one’s freedom should undermine anyone else’s.
- True freedom is a responsibility offered to everyone equally in a collective community. It’s not based on socioeconomic status or outward signs of value but on the importance of shared freedom established by everyone’s needs. Living responsibly in light of the whole community is a large part of freedom.
- Freedom is purposeful. It exists to allow everyone to have equal opportunities to share in the joy of the whole community. It’s not selective, minimizing, or discriminatory. It’s intended for everyone.
- True freedom has understood parameters so everyone involved in the community understands what is acceptable and what isn’t. It’s what is needed for everyone to have the same rights. There is no place to infringe on the freedom of others.
- Freedom is not permission to do what you like to others. It’s a communal agreement that all participants are created equally. Freedom isn’t permission at all; it’s responsibility.
- Freedom isn’t only about what you can do but what you’re protected from. It’s not a personal entitlement but an equal opportunity to experience life fully for every person.
- Freedom gives people the opportunity for personal growth, creativity, and innovation so each person is allowed to be uniquely themselves.
- Freedom provides people with a sense of significance and importance; it’s spurred by courage and kindness because it considers others’ needs as well as personal needs. Everyone is valued.
- Freedom gives people more choices, and rights, increasing our personal and collective prosperity.
- Freedom allows the entire community to thrive within understood parameters of selflessness and kindness.
Freedom can’t exist without an agreement of absolute values experienced by everyone. It’s not based on random opinions or attitudes, nor is it something that changes randomly or on a whim.
It’s why Jesus said to those who chose to believe in Him, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32. He is the Truth, for in Him is the fullness of God.
Jesus came to free us from the power of our own brokenness, the evil that lurks in every heart. He offers us the chance to live in hope together, to give us the ability to treat others with respect, and to help us put others’ needs before our own.
When America became a nation, it was the beginning of a national experiment where everyone could be equal. We’re not there yet. We don’t have to lose hope.
In God, all things are possible.