This past Monday people all over America celebrated the birth of our free nation. We thought about what it means to live in America and how blessed we are to have the freedom we enjoy and the luxury we live in here. But I believe that as we move on from this holiday, Americans forget once again the blessings of our nation and we begin to abuse the freedoms we enjoy.
One of the most famous lines in the Declaration of Independence is as follows:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Now, let’s look at those Rights a little closer.
Life: being that everyone has a right to live. We can live how we want. We can worship how we please and go about our daily lives without fear of not doing it right. We all have the basic right to Life.
Liberty: to do what you want as long as it doesn’t conflict with God. Whether you want to go preach on a street corner, or if you want to stay at home all the time. Or maybe you want to do nothing at all; that’s your Liberty.
And the pursuit of Happiness: what makes you happy, you can go for it. This goes hand-in-hand with Liberty. You have the right to be happy.
That’s the shallow end of it and though there’s nothing really wrong with that, I believe that we should always go a little deeper. Here’s the more Christlike side to these Rights:
Life: we have the right not only to live ourselves, but to grant others life as well. To save men, women, and children from human trafficking, to give unborn children life instead of the alternative that’s less fuss in the long run, to save those who have no other savior. That is the Life we have a right to.
Liberty: to not just do what we want, when we want it, but to live in step with God’s plan for our life. To live beyond the shallowness and repetition of everyday life and make a difference. To give justice to those who have none. That’s a higher Liberty.
And finally, to pursue Happiness: but not just the happiness of ourselves, but to help others pursue happiness as well. If everyone is deserving of happiness, we should help them reach it. True happiness and joy is stepping outside yourself to serve others. Because only then, when we imitate Christ, can we find true Happiness.
So I leave you with a few questions to mull over. Though as I said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with living on the shallow side of Freedom, wouldn’t you want to challenge yourself to be better than the expectation? What good is your Freedom if you do nothing with it? If you only serve yourself, are you really free?