Freedom. It's a word that has been used (and over used) a lot these days. What does freedom mean to you? Some will answer, "Freedom is being able to do what I want and no one can stop me!" That sounds so inviting to people who are feeling restricted, or pressured, or just over-burdened. In reality, sometimes we have so much freedom that we don't really appreciate what we have already been given.
I found out that today is "International Holocaust Remembrance Day," marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. "FREEDOM" came to those who had endured so much. Although we have seen the pictures and heard some of their stories, we will never know the depths of their suffering. So many died without their cries for help being heard. So many were lost before their freedom came. So many died fighting to preserve our freedom and to bring freedom to those captives. Freedom wasn't just "doing what I want to do," it was LIFE to those who were surrounded by death, with no hope of overcoming their circumstances on their own. They understood how valuable real freedom was - and sometimes, how elusive it can be.
Using our freedom for selfish purposes can often lead us onto paths we may regret later. When investigated, most restrictions we face are for good reason. However, those which are imposed for our harm, must be resisted, sometimes with the aid of others. Oppression, especially resulting from prejudice and hatred, usually turns ugly and abusive. Seek out the help you need in time to avoid future damage. Value freedom and fight to keep it. Those who committed atrocities at Auschwitz were able to "do what they wanted with no one to stop them." That kind of "freedom" is never acceptable. Our freedom can never be at the expense of others, especially to that degree.
Freedom has been given to us. It was a gift. The country we live in (no matter what your beef) IS FREE because others have fought to make it what it is. My ancestors were given the opportunity to come and live free on land they could call their own. They were "Foreign Protestants" out of Germany and Montbeliard, France, who wanted the freedom to worship God and raise their families without oppression. They made that choice and they prospered. Others later fought to keep what was given to them, risking their lives for the sake of others to keep our freedom.
God gives all of us choices to make, but our freedom cannot be used "to do what I want to do and no one can stop me." How selfish and how wasteful..... and sometimes, how dangerous.
Galatians 5:1 says that it is for FREEDOM that we have been set FREE. Let's not waste that freedom. But don't let it be stolen from you either. Jesus didn't die in vain... it had a great purpose... to purchase YOUR freedom. It was truly a gift. He liberated us from things we could not free ourselves from. Don't give your liberty away to indulge in selfish desires, especially to the harm of others. Remember, extreme actions lead to extreme consequences.
When you see someone oppressed, don't be silent. Speak out for those who cannot be heard. God will lead you and give you opportunity to speak for freedom. The purpose of "Remembrance" days is to never forget the past events that led to great tragedy. We do not want them ever to be repeated. Remember those who were lost and remember those who survived, but also remember those who gave to bring freedom to others.
Real freedom is so valuable. How are you using your freedom?