Next week we will celebrate Memorial Day. For many it will be just another 3-day weekend. We live in a country with the freedom to speak, freedom to worship, and freedom to achieve. Unfortunately, we often forget that these freedoms came at a cost. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, politicians, activists, and even ordinary citizens fought to win that freedom for us. My own family was greatly impacted by World War II. Dad received a medical discharge for injuries, his brother Mike was killed at Okinawa, and on the other side of the family, Uncle Andy received a purple heart for his injuries. This story could be repeated many times over in every war that has been fought, both in this country and on foreign soil.
Those who sacrifice to assure our freedoms include others, as well. Each day, as we walk through a parking lot in safety or down a street without fear, our freedom has come to us because of someone else’s sacrifice, or because someone stood up for what was right when others didn’t bother.
Why do we forget about that cost? Why do we take for granted all we have been given? I believe we have a shared distaste for negative thoughts and harsh stories. We want to dwell in the positive, the blessings, the milk and honey of the “Promised Land,” making us just like the Israelites. When they chose to dwell on the blessings of God without recognizing all that God and their ancestors had done to bring them there, God’s people inevitably lost their faith and followed other gods.
And so it is with the freedom we received when we put our faith in Jesus. Some teachers emphasize the blessings of God in our lives but forget that these blessings came at a high price, not from us, but from God who sent His only Son to be crucified for our sins. We cannot live the Christian life without a constant reminder of this fact. It is part and parcel of who we are as children of God. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we have found the way to freedom from sin and separation from God, with no payment of our own. We receive that freedom by recognizing Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, by believing in faith.
Freedom comes at a price, a price that others have paid. Take the time to recognize those in your life and community who have in the past, and continue today, given of themselves that you might enjoy freedom and safety. And in the spiritual realm, why not take some time to meditate on the offer of freedom purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins. Thank God for setting you free from sin and for giving you new life.
By the way, if you haven’t accepted the offer of salvation and renewal, why not pray today, confessing your sins and professing your faith in Jesus? When you do, you’ll find a freedom you never knew existed! Believe and be thankful!
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love” Galatians 5:13.