I hope you’ve had a wonderful week, and have some fun Independence Day plans. We have decided to stay home this year, but that means we can easily watch fireworks blasted off the side of the mountain, which is pretty great.
Did you know that it was actually today, July 2, 1776, that the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain? Richard Henry Lee wrote the resolution: “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown…” The full Declaration of Independence was approved two days later, but the initial freedom vote was today. So let your festivities begin!
Sadly, in 2021 our culture undervalues freedom and consistently fails to consider the alternatives. This chronic willful ignorance of alternatives can be seen everywhere. There are also Americans—many of them—who expect the government to provide for them. When the government provides, the government controls. That is not freedom.
Other Americans are obsessed with wealth. Keeping up with the Joneses is joy-robbing bondage. People who make amassing wealth their goal are not free. People who focus on gaining power over others are not free.
The Founding Fathers had many faults, but it is a mark of silly naïveté to suggest that slavery and racial disparity were or are uniquely American. When we declared our freedom from the Crown, William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, hadn’t yet become a Christian. In 1785, he gave his life to Christ, and began working with anti-slave-trade activists in 1787. It was 20 years of work, before the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was passed. The gradual abolition of slavery around the world is documented here. But unfortunately racial bias continues to thrive around the world, and there remains pockets of slavery. The fight for universal recognition that every single person is made in the image of God and is worthy of dignity and respect will continue until Jesus returns.
But back to our Founding Fathers, many of whom were Christians. It is heartbreaking and mind boggling that they could fail to see that enslaving fellow human beings was a disgusting and unbiblical practice. Still, I believe every person, while an image-bearer of God, is also steeped in sin at birth and capable of atrocity. I honestly have a hard time relating to people who say, “I could never …”
There’s a dark corner of my heart. There’s a dark corner in yours too. Can we really be sure if we were in a different era and culture that we’d have the same clarity about evil practices we have today? Because it strikes me as a bit pompous and hubristic.
What I know for sure though is that God created us to be free. And as counterintuitive as it may be, the greatest freedom we can taste in this life is to be fully surrendered to Him.
This weekend we’ll fly our American flag on our porch and in our hearts we’ll wave a white flag to the Creator and Lover of our souls. He doesn’t have a dark corner. He doesn’t lie or cheat. He is perfect justice. He never disappoints. I hope you know Him.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Galatians 5:13 NIV