July 7, 2022
Reflections – Let Freedom Ring
Let freedom ring… We hear the word freedom mentioned a lot. Even the national anthem of the United States uses the word to describe that country as the land of the free. The founding fathers would probably have wanted it that way… along with the remembrance of risks and sacrifices made by those opposing British control at that time. By signing the Declaration of Independence, the signers were putting their very lives on the line. Had things not gone the Colonists’ way, these signers would have surely been hanged. Folks around the world owe much gratitude to the courage of those men and women who put it all on the line for freedom, a freedom that paved the way for the flourishment of this great nation.
What Does Freedom Mean?
But what does freedom really mean? One dictionary definition is, “…the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” In America today it seems normal to believe that each individual is free to do whatever he or she chooses, and others must tolerate that freedom regardless of what the individual does or believes. The focus in this mindset is that it’s MY freedom… not necessarily OURS.
In chapter 2 of the Old Testament book of Hosea God allures Israel into the desert. He wishes to reconnect Israel with His covenant promises and move Israel away from the local false god, BAAL. God assures them that He is the true God and He will be with them always.
Today in the United States, it seems that the opposite is happening. Our culture is being lured AWAY from GOD… tempted, like Israel, by all the trappings of the false gods of our day. It almost seems to be a redo of what we read in Hosea. And many are falling for the trap. The focal point of this trap is ME… What’s in it for me? How will I benefit from this? How does this help ME? In Hosea 4:6 the prophet writes something of a parallel to our day, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…and since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
In Matthew 9, a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years touches the edge of Jesus’ cloak, thinking that if she could just touch the edge of that cloak, she could be healed. And she was. Her faith took her to the point of healing. Reflecting on this woman who had been bleeding, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that our nation is hemorrhaging right now. And the greatest example of such hemorrhaging is the lack of God in our lives. As a result, we experience on almost a daily basis:
- Mass shootings
- Social media dictating much of our thought
- Division, anger
- Morality on the decline
- Families failing
Much of the attitude our nation is experiencing seems to be caused by a misperception of the freedom that we have. If freedom is thought of as, “I have the freedom to do or say whatever I want, without restraint from others…” or the opposite, “I have the freedom to suppress others because it doesn’t fit what my party believes.” If this kind of attitude continues, our nation’s hemorrhaging will continue and the demise of a nation may be the result, as so often was the case in the Old Testament. The last verse in Hosea wraps the book up with, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9)
What does the Bible really say about FREEDOM?
Galatians 5:1 says that we have been set free by Christ. We are to stand fast and not submit again to the yoke of slavery. Real freedom before God liberates us from the slavery (bondage) of sin and selfishness and frees us for service in the world. This liberation, energized by the Holy Spirit, gives us a more proper perspective so that I am not just concerned about me.
Christian discipleship does not suppress our freedom. On the contrary, a Christian-oriented freedom obliges us to have unconditional respect for every person…not just me. Paul contrasts true freedom with the false in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.”
A Time To Pray
Prayer: Heavenly Father, take us by the hand and heal our nation. Allow us to truly be one nation under God. Let freedom ring… not the me-freedom of our day, but the freedom that frees us from our sins, the freedom that serves and loves one another.
My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…of thee I sing.
Land where our sinfulness must die,
Land where our holy God must guide,
In which selfless love for others must reside,
Let God’s freedom ring!
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men…” (Galatians 6:10)
References: Much of this reflection has been taken and edited with gratitude from a short talk given by Patrick Kinnick in Sugar Land, Texas on July 4, 2022. The changes and resulting emphases are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect either those of Patrick Kinnick or any organization the author may be associated with.
Blessings and peace,
Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives.
Read more Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner