This is the Day…Friday
July 3, 2020
“Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child.” Ever heard that phrase? While I was not brought up in a household which used the “rod” very often, there were clear consequences when I misbehaved. Consequences that were even more painful than a good old-fashioned spanking.
Like the time I was extremely angry with one of my older brothers. I was about five years old which meant he was around twelve years old. I cannot remember what he had done to get on my bad side that day but, I clearly allowed my emotions to get the best of me. As he walked by me on the way to the kitchen, I ran up behind him and bit him square on his right cheek. (And I do not mean his face). He let out a “blood curdling” yell and here came Mama.
I do not recall much of what happened for the next few hours after that encounter, but I do remember that I was secluded to my room for the rest of the day and night. Now, that may not seem like much of a punishment for the crime I had committed. However, if you know me, you know that I was not much of an indoor person. So, being held in my room was the worst type of punishment for me.
The next morning, when my time was up, my Mom gave me another good talking to and let me out. I remember proclaiming, in the words of the great Martin Luther King, Jr, “Free at last!”
Freedom. It is certainly one of the characteristics that sets us apart as a society, but we can tend to take it for granted. There is a depth to freedom that we do not often consider. Freedom is more than the ability to come and go as you please. It is more than the right to speak your mind, worship as you choose and elect your government leaders. To be truly free, we must go much deeper.
Freedom encompasses unity, compassion, and understanding. Freedom is not a benefit of citizenship. It is a way of living and thinking and acting. It is a component of our heart that is played out in our lives each day. Freedom comes through servanthood. Freedom comes when children no longer go to bed hungry in the richest country in the world. Freedom comes when we act responsibly to take care of God’s creation around us. Freedom comes when the last thing we notice is the color of someone’s skin. Freedom comes when there is shelter over everyone’s head. Freedom comes when our hearts are big enough to love, even someone with a different opinion.
Jesus came and died to provide our freedom. Freedom from sin and death. But also, freedom to love as He loves us. Freedom to see others as He sees them. Galatians 5:13-14 tells us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
On this Independence Day, live out the depth of your freedom through your love.