At the risk of being cliche…
Freedom isn’t free.
For those of us born in freedom who have never lived through a world war, it is sometimes difficult to really understand this. We throw that sentence around because we’ve heard it so many times, and it sounds so patriotic and, well, the right thing to say — especially on Memorial Day.
Today is the day many Americans (OK, technically United States Citizens — the Americas include other countries) have a day off work and spend it with family, barbecuing, relaxing and having fun. We fly flags and throw out sentiments of patriotism and gratitude for our armed services. Most people honestly don’t even know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and end up thanking “all who have served”. While that’s very nice, that isn’t what today is about.
Today is about remembering those who have served, and gave their lives serving. Today is about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — their lives. Today is the day we honor those who died in battle, and the families who go on every day without them because of their sacrifice.
Today we remember our beginnings… a fledgling nation of rebels fighting for the freedom to live under a democracy and a key reason for that fight, was to gain religious freedom. Freedom of religion, not from religion. These men and women were willing to die to earn the right to worship God in their own way, not the way the country dictated. That is what separation of church and state is all about. It doesn’t mean that you can’t worship, it means that the government can’t tell you how to worship. We have somehow lost sight of that.
We haven’t come full circle, our government doesn’t tell us how we have to worship, nor does it demand that we all do… but we are getting very close to having a government that tells us how we cannot worship.
What does the first amendment actually say?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The government is prohibited from establishing a religion that everyone must follow, but it cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, or the right of people to peaceably assemble. This is a battle that is still being fought every day in the court system. Our children are being told they cannot pray on the ball field or on school grounds, or have a banner with a scriptural reference, or talk to their classmates about God.
The second amendment gives us the right to own guns.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Again, this is another freedom that many in Washington would like to take away. Should gun ownership be regulated? Absolutely! But the government does not have a right to take away my ability to defend myself and my family. History has shown that a country that takes weapons out of the hands of its citizens often turns weapons against its citizens.
I won’t bore you by going through each amendment to the United States Constitution, but I do encourage you to read it and know what your rights as a citizen are. This is what those soldiers fought and died for.
There was another sacrifice made for your freedom. Two thousand years ago, Jesus died to set you free from bondage. He died not just to give you spiritual freedom — which is important — but freedom from spiritual death. He died to give you eternal life and to restore your relationship with your Father. His death gave you life. His blood washed you clean. Even more important than fighting for your constitutional freedoms, you need exercise the freedom Jesus won for you over the circumstances of your life.
For every need you have, provision has been made. You will find seed in God’s word for any harvest you desire to have in your life. Read it. Speak it. Meditate it. Live it. Be truly free.
Have a blessed Memorial Day.