"At the end of the
Today is July
4th, when we celebrate the independence of our country,
remembering when we as a people declared that we were a nation
separate from England. We usually celebrate it with fireworks,
picnics, and speeches about the past, present, and future
greatness of our country. This day is about "freedom."
Let me tell you a story about freedom.
Once there was
a man who heard about our free country. He lived in a country in
Europe where freedom was extremely limited. He managed to escape
and make his way by boat to this country. As he stepped off the
boat, he took a deep breath and then walked up to a person
standing nearby. This person, seeing the newcomer coming toward
him, extended a hand of welcome. Instead of shaking hands, which
was the polite thing to do, this new arrival doubled up his fist
and hit this man in the nose.
"Why did you
do that?" asked the man who was hit.
"This is a
free country, isnít it? I can do what I want to do."
The man who had
been hit replied, "This may be a free country, but your
freedom stops where my nose begins..."
makes me think about freedom. The early founders of our country
who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the man who was hit
in the nose said about the same thing, and it was this: We have
freedom to do what we wish, but when that freedom interferes with
the rights of someone else, weíre in the wrong.
heard what those early founders felt to be extremely important
when they were declaring our countryís independence, but itís
worth hearing again:
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." (Of course, we should know that
when they said "all men" they really meant "all
talking about freedom using fancy language and some big words, but
thatís what we celebrate on the Fourth of July. Itís a
God-given freedom to do as we please. But we canít please God
and do as Jesus taught unless we use our freedom in a responsible
way, with love causing us to stop short of punching someone in the
nose. Thus, love and freedom go together.
adapted from The
Brown Bag, by Jerry Marshall Jordan, p. 65