We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...The writers of this document were fed up with the oppression and tyranny of a foreign government with which they had no representation, no voice. They fought long and hard to defend the rights that they felt we, as humans, are born with.
Rights are a tricky subject. To me, the whole "rights" thing has gotten out of hand. I don't know that half the things we claim and fight for in the court of law are actually rights, but more like preferences and personal agendas. I think I have a right to a good parking space, a profanity-free trip to the hotel pool, and a discount at Dunkin' Donuts even when I forget my coupon because I'm just that faithful of a customer. But those are not rights. Those are wishes or maybe demands. To sum up, wishes, demands, preferences, and personal agendas are not the same as rights. At the end of the day, I don't know how best to sum up the definition of a "right" other than to say it's a man-made construct that attempts to claim our natural, God-given entitlements.
Freedom is a little easier for me to wrap my brain around. From the beginning of creation, God gave man freedom. We are free to make our own choices. We are free to be smart, and free to be stupid. We are free to uphold the law, and free to break the law and suffer the consequences. His mistake, maybe, because when faced with the choice between right and wrong, doggone it, we're going to screw it up. That's just our
Freedom in the United States is more than a patriotic buzzword, it's a blessing from God. It's a gift given to us by the founding fathers, and secured daily for us by our armed forces and leaders. Going down that list of freedoms in the First Amendment, we have been given the ability to worship freely, gather together, protest against the establishment, to speak freely, and write about and read news in the press that has not been influenced by the government. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most Americans take these basic freedoms for granted daily, myself included.
No matter how awesome our military is (and they are awesome), there is one freedom they simply cannot secure for us.
Despite the warm fuzzy notion that we are all inherently good, man has proven from the beginning that we choose poorly. Apart from God, we are slaves to sin. With God, we are granted freedom that surpasses even those we're afforded in the United States.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:17-18
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
That's the ultimate freedom. Jesus is the strongest ally. July 4th is the day America celebrates its independence. The day you decide to let Jesus be your Savior? That's your Independence Day.
Jesus was sent to proclaim freedom for the captives (Isa. 61:1), won't you claim that freedom today?