Happy Fourth of July! Let’s travel, go to the beach, celebrate with a backyard BBQ, burgers and beers, family, friends, and fireworks! Good times, after all we live in the “land of the free, home of the brave”, right?
But do we ever stop to think about what it means to be “free”? What does it really mean to have “freedom”?
Freedom is defined as:
- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint;
- Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government;
- The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved;
- The state of being physically unrestricted and able to move freely;
- The state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing);
- The Power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity;
- Unrestricted use of something.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I land at the corner of Grace and Freedom!
The hubby and I just got back from a much-needed vacation. I was brave and booked us a cruise to Bermuda. (I survived! We didn’t get lost in the Bermuda Triangle. We didn’t sink in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. All part of my greatest fears. I don’t like water and yes, I fear the power of the ocean.) Getting around the island is so much different than here in the US. The roads are teeny tiny, driving on the opposite side, and tons of those roundabouts. The hubby really wanted to rent mopeds and just explore but I, in my infinite wisdom, said “no”. I had to draw the line somewhere. The newspaper headline would have read “American Tourists Killed in Horrific Moped Accident”. Y’all, I just couldn’t let that be the story of my life.
See, in Bermuda, they don’t have “yield” signs. Their yield sign says “Give Way”. Give Way! Have they met me? I don’t give way. It’s just not in my nature. I am stubborn, hard-headed, speak my mind and will go to great lengths to prove I am right. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but mostly not.
Here’s the thing. I am not free!
I am not free to do whatever I want whenever I want. You are not free to do whatever you want whenever you want. None of us really want to live like that. Can you imagine the total state of chaos? We all need rules and laws. I am not free to say whatever I want. You are not free to say whatever you want. Because at some point, you and I will land smack dab at the corner of “my freedom” and “your grace” with no sign that says “give way”. There are times in life when we inadvertently land at the roundabout where Freedom intersects with Grace and that is a beautiful thing! However, when I go plowing down Freedom Street without a thought as to who might be simply strolling down Grace, I really shouldn’t be expecting the other party to “give way” at the point where we might collide and vice versa.
There’s this flip side to freedom that we tend to forget: the consequence.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It may be Newton’s Third Law but I think it was God’s first. From the very beginning, God took chaos and created something good. He gave structure and order to the world He created.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
This is where freedom begins and ends. Is it beneficial? Is it constructive? Is it for the good of others? If it’s yes then I’m free to go for it! On the other hand, if it’s no, stop!
So as we celebrate this Fourth of July as a nation, let’s all take the time to really think about what it means to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. Let’s all be free to seek the good of others and brave enough to do it at the corner of Grace and Freedom!