For a country that was founded on the notion of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we’ve done well. In fact, America has become so free and prosperous that we’ve even removed the “A”. We’re now know as ‘Merica—a reality television version of ourselves with schizophrenia.
Some days, we see the resolve of the human spirit unite under the concept of faith, hope and love—like the response to Hurricane Florence. But other days, we digress to into fear, division and hate—painfully evident in the Kavanaugh hearing.
Friends, I’m afraid that freedom has become our curse. As Patrick Henry infamously said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” We chose liberty. Now it’s killing us.
The Inward Sickness
The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease.
That’s not ironic. Our hearts are killing us. Literally and metaphorically.
The second leading cause of death in the United States is cancer.
That’s not ironic either. Rapidly multiplying abnormalities are killing us. Literally and metaphorically.
These two killers do their work in the dark. Clogged arteries and cancer have done the majority of their dirty work before we’re even aware. They quietly kill us from the inside out.
The same is true of bad attitudes and pride. An ugly heart and cancerous pride have done a lot of work in us before we realize they’re there. And unfortunately, they’ve been working on us for years. Of course it’s always easier to see these qualities in everyone else than it is to see them in ourselves because we rarely pause long enough to pay attention.
Rather than lambasting everyone else for their shortcomings and failures, we have to begin within ourselves. We’ll never have any hope of working through the strongholds and struggles of others until we wrestle with and remove our own.
Feasting on Fear
Why do we condemn people whose opinions or lifestyle threaten our own?
The answer most often, is fear.
Fear is the broken compass that has become the chief navigational device of our lives. It affects our spending habits, our career choices and our relationships. But the most damaging effect fear has on our culture is that it keeps us locked in to our own agenda. It cuts off our perspective and keeps us from seeing people on the other side of the issues we face.
In short, fear keeps us from the truth.
Just like sugar and fat fuel unhealthy hearts and cancer cells, fear feeds our inward sickness. As we continually give in to our fears, we slowly suffocate our greatness. And most people know this, but how do we stop living this way?
Give Me Death
The only way to overcome our fears is to honestly face them.
“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” — C. S. Lewis
True freedom is found in the death of ourselves. When we die to ourselves, fear dies to us. And left without fearful fuel, our anger, hate and pride can’t survive. In the absence of anger, hate and pride, we find absolute freedom.
Our founding fathers believed in something greater than themselves. The freedoms they fought for were endowed by a Creator. Equality and freedom and the pursuit of happiness are all anchored in that truth. However, we’ve rejected that truth for a number of well-intended reasons.
My question is, is it working?
The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). You have to ask yourself if you believe that to be true. If not, that’s fine. You’re free to do so. Carry on. But I’ll ask again, is it working?
If you do believe that, then live as if you do.
It’s time to teach our children that true freedom isn’t found in doing what you want to do, but in being who you’ve been created to be. And that requires submission to the One who created you.
So, ‘Merica, I say give us death. And in doing so, we’ll find life.