Today is the Fourth of July. Britain, France, Germany and every other nation on earth has July 4 on their calendar, so what's special about it?
If I say it's Independence Day, does that make a difference? It means nothing to anyone where the rulers are domineering, oppressive, or brutal. It can prompt a feeling of camaraderie with our national friends. It can give a sense of security to those who depend on America. But it means a lot to the citizens of the United States of America because the Fourth of July is uniquely and intrinsically an American holiday which specifically honors freedom.
Where did our forefathers in Colonial America get the idea that we should be free or that we have something called inalienable rights?
The answer is profound, yet simple to understand. The desire for freedom is inherent in the minds and spirits of man world-wide. When God created man, He instilled the desire to think freely, to act freely, to be creative, and to work with others freely.
But man complicated the issue by misusing his freedom and rebelling against God. Although freedom is still universally desired by man, it is not universally allowed by ungodly men.
Throughout history ethnic groups have attacked other groups. They believed their gods gave them the mandate or authority to conquer; so, they attacked, killed, and often outright murdered in the name of their gods.
Sadly, the two groups -- Jews and Christians -- who worship the one true God sometimes did the same thing.
However, throughout history, there have been a few who understood freedom. Therefore, they attempted to live by it and grant it to others. Some of these people wanted to purify the Church and were therefore called Puritans. Others believed the Church would not be purified so decided to separate from the Church. They were called Separatists.
I find it interesting that when Henry VIII wanted to separate from Rome, the king and the Church of England declared it legal; but when the Separatists wanted to break from the Church of England, it was declared illegal.
Some of these law-breakers -- called Pilgrims -- fled to Holland for safety. But that safety was temporary at best, and many Pilgrims immigrated to the new world in 1621 AD where they could worship freely without fear of imprisonment, torture, or death at the hands of the church. But a great many hardships and culture shock awaited them!
Overcoming the problems with meager supplies required a resilience and tough-mindedness that eventually became known as The American Spirit.
On June 12, 2012 Edwin Feulner, Ph.D. wrote "The American Spirit." In it he said, "There is no French Dream or Russian Dream or Chinese Dream. There is only the American dream, to which people worldwide aspire and have aspired since our founding. From 194 countries, people have come to America to pursue this dream. At any time, you can decide to change and do something completely different. Your life is yours to chart. This freedom to define your own destiny ultimately derives from the Judeo-Christian tradition. God created us in His own image, and just as God is free, so we are meant for freedom. Government's purpose is not to impose some top-down vision of the good society on the rest of us, but to empower men and women to use their God-given freedom as they choose." (https://www.heritage.org/commentary/the-american-spirit; June 11, 2018)
True freedom is designed by our Heavenly Father, granted through Jesus Christ, and promoted by honorable men and women. That's why we call them inalienable rights. That's why America has been a nation different from any other on earth.
Jesus said in John 8:33, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." That refers to spiritual and eternal freedom. But He said in Luke 6:31, "Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you." That's how we honor others as we respect the freedoms that God gave us.
I thank God for our nation and our freedoms. But we are in danger of losing them.
I'll conclude next week.
GENE LINZEY IS A SPEAKER, AUTHOR, MENTOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE SILOAM SPRINGS WRITERS GUILD. SEND COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS TO MASTERS.SERVANT@COX.NET. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.Editorial on 07/04/2018
Print Headline: July 4, An American Holiday For Freedom