Liberty: Blessing or Entitlement?

ImageOne of the things that I love most about my job is getting to observe classes. I try to get into at least one class per day, or at least three per week. Last Friday I had the privilege of sitting in on Mrs. Mayfield’s Rhetoric class. The seniors each presented a 4-minute persuasive speech. Afterwards I asked some of them if they would mind sharing them with the world through my blog. One by one they are trickling in. Here is the one my daughter wrote. A thoughtful treatise on submission to government by McKenzie Warmouth.

Just the word “government” is more than enough to make most Americans cringe. We spend a significant fraction of our days engaging in heated discussions about rights being taken away from us, becoming overwhelmingly frustrated about new controlling government policies and institutions that America seems to be blindly falling for, and watching youtube videos of sure proof of government conspiracies perfectly designed to gain ultimate control. And there has been no topic more frequently discussed in the past few weeks than the horrible debate about gun control. Not even to mentions things like government encroachment into our education, banking, internet systems and student loans – all of it is more than enough to make us wonder why and how we got ourselves into this situation. America was born in liberty – a liberty that we may not have too much longer and have already begun to lose. However, as much as I believe in the freeing principles upon which America began, I have been recently reminded of this familiar verse in Romans: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

You’ve heard it over and over and over – we are to submit to our authorities. We’ve been taught to do it all of our lives – first to our parents, then to our Sunday School teachers and classroom authorities. And now that we are in a position to make a difference in our nation, we must realize the submission we must have to our government.

I’m sure you are wondering if I’ve really just thrown out to you a bunch of aggravating information about the government’s undeniable attempts at taking away your freedom, then spent the last few moments giving you Bible references about why you should be okay with this? Maybe I did, but I think that, for Christians, we have to go quite a bit deeper. Where do we come in when God tells us to submit to a government that’s so against Him?

In Jesus’ time, the Roman government was the worst of the worst. Jesus’ government was the controlling and freedom stripping government that we fear today.  However, Jesus never said one word about it! He never once ranted as his freedoms were taken. In fact, He knew that they were going to be. He knew that ours were going to be. He said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” He said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. As our freedoms are being taken away, we must not be tempted to sin in rebellion. We must remember that, as His judgment falls upon our nation, God commands us to love His discipline.

So what are we to do?!?! Does God really want us to stand aside and let tyranny overturn America and sin run rampant? This is where Christians come in in a way that others cannot. God wants us to fight for what is right, doesn’t He? Sure He does, but let’s fight the right battles! Lets fight against the sin for which we are being disciplined and not against the discipline itself. We have no right to earthly liberties apart from Christ and if He sees fit to take them away, then that is something we should not fight against, but rest in. Lets, for a moment, turn our attention away from our personal liberties and look to what God’s judgment is for. What if the 8,731,568 people in the US who presently possess handgun permits were as passionate about putting a stop to abortion as they are about keeping their handgun rights? If all those people thought two seconds about abortion, or homosexual marriage, or any of the other sins for which we are being judged, could they not realize that those sins might be at the root of America’s problems. Maybe its time for us to realize that sin is where we find our real battles, and freedom is only a pleasant blessing that accompanies harmony with God. I am not saying that America isn’t a blessed and beautiful nation when freedom reigns. Free is how America was born and how she thrives. But freedom is just that – a blessing, not a guarantee. And if freedom is taken away for something we’ve done, its time to fix the problem, not rebel against the discipline. My mom tells her second graders every day that obedience leads to freedom. If they color inside the lines the first time she asks them to, then they don’t have to spend their recess time re-doing their work. They have that time to be free. Obedience to God will lead to a freedom for Americans. When we learn to walk in submission to Him, we will elect wise leaders and pass biblical laws that will set us free. Christians have a head start in this area. We know that our true and ultimate liberties in Christ have no limits and cannot be taken away – even if our guns are. We will ultimately have more freedom in our spiritual life than even the most perfect earthly government could give us. Christians then have rather a noble calling if we are to remind the world that obedience leads to freedom. A calling that, if fulfilled, will lead us back to the liberty everyone is so ready to fight for.

For, as the Psalmist reminds us, “The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil. Lord, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart. But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers. Peace be on Israel….”

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Posted on February 7, 2013, in Christian Living Blog Entries, Trinity Christian School Blog Entries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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