Page 149 was Memorial Day and I was awake early to photograph the sunrise. As I was watching the sun come up over the horizon, I thought about the freedoms I enjoy that were purchased with the blood of someone else. Freedom is something that seems to get talked about a lot in this country, but I’m not sure it really gets taught. As I’ve grown up, I’ve been taught the old adage, “With great freedom comes great responsibility.” I hear and read a lot that seem to use rights and freedom interchangeably. It’s as if freedom gives us the right to do anything we want and heaven forbid that anyone would question our actions. But we do tend to draw the line when our freedom is about something we don’t want to do. We have the freedom to listen to opposing views and disagree if we choose but we also have the freedom to not listen and actually protest against that which we’ve not heard. A steady diet of instantaneous news bits designed to arouse an emotional response have made us quick to lump people into categories that we then choose not to listen to or have anything to do with because, well because we know what “those people are like”. The Bible tells us we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Somehow it seems that much of the culture I live in are using the wrong speed in each of those areas.
As I thought about the way we tend to worship freedom in this country, it was not a far journey for my mind to think about how those same misunderstandings of true freedom have crept into the church. The Bible makes it clear that our freedom has been purchased with the blood of Christ and that “if the Son has set you free, you shall be free indeed!” Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before people decided that meant they could do whatever they wanted without giving any thought to anyone else. Sounds a lot like our current culture both inside and outside of the church. Yet the Bible warns us to not use our freedom satisfy the sinful desires of the flesh. Rather we are instructed to use our freedom to serve one another in love. God desires that each person would not only know true freedom, but would live that freedom within the boundaries of His Word.
I enjoy flying kites and love to watch them soar high overhead. Today’s photo is one I took as I was flying a kite in the middle of the afternoon. While the bright colors of the kite and tails are probably the most visible thing in the photo, if you look closely you can see the one piece that actually gives it the ability to fly with beauty . . . the kite string! The string provides some parameters and form to the kite so that it can fly in a way that displays its full beauty. One thing I’ve learned when I fly a kite is to always pay close attention when I near the end of running the string out on the spool. Lately, most of the kites I have flown have the string tied around the spool, but I had one years ago that wasn’t. I was having a great time watching the kite soar in the air and it kept climbing higher and higher as I fed out the string. All of a sudden it began to flap wildly in the sky and as I pulled back on the spool to try to steady the kite, I quickly realized as the kite tumbled out of sight, the kites freedom to fly was quickly coming to an end as it had gained freedom with no control.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Freedom always costs somebody something.
- Freedom without responsibility eventually leads to chaos.
- Without respect for one another at the core, freedom will actually lead to conflict rather than peace.
- Until we learn to listen, we will never know actual freedom.
- When I think about the most unused freedoms we have, I would say it is a toss up between the freedom to listen to someone without agreeing or becoming angry and the freedom to actually change our mind by listening.
- It is just as easy to misuse our freedom in Christ as it is to misuse our freedom in this world.
- Unrestrained freedom will ultimately lead to losing everything.