Saturday, November 3, 2012

Freedom Rings (Will You Answer?)

I just read an interesting story with the headline: "Man who insulted the King of Bahrain on Twitter sentenced to six months in jail." Apparently, the issue is that there are people in that kingdom who would prefer democracy to monarchy.   They are marching in protest to say that they want to have a say in how they live their lives and don't want to be dictated to by a king. This particular fellow was accused of "defaming" the king and he will now be paying a price.

I wonder what the fuss is about. How bad can it really be? Things seem to be good enough in Bahrain that this guy had a Twitter account and apparently had access to a computer to post his perceived insult, so I am guessing that he isn't starving or going without clothes. Some speculation is that he was put up to this "stunt" by those in Iran who just like to see turmoil in the region. Who really knows? 

For me, the question is this... Is it worth it, this idea of "freedom"?  Would I be willing to sit in jail, or worse, for a cause in which I believe? When people talk of freedom, emotions start to flow. We, in this country, have wonderfully eloquent rhetoric when it comes to freedom.  From the men under George Washington to those under General Petraeus and his successors, we have awesome examples of those who have been willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom. 

For generations we have written songs about "the land that I love."  I am one of those men who still sing the National Anthem, out loud, every time it is played at an event I attend. I get goose bumps and choke back tears nearly every single time. Sad to say,  I have come to notice that there aren't too many people singing along with me. At least not out loud. 

Where, for you, does the cause of freedom stand in the priority list of your life? And when you think of freedom, what does it mean? Before, I would have thought of living here in the United States of America, the home of "give me liberty or give me death." Now, my beloved country is my second thought. Don't misunderstand me, I love my country and I would fight to the death in her defense. Even so, I do have a hard time thinking in terms of real freedom.

How can I think in terms of true freedom when I am subject to a government that is supposed to be subject to me but rarely does things as I believe they should.  A government with volumes dictating all of the things I can and can't do, where I must or mustn't spend my time and money, and where they will or won't spend it on my behalf? Freedom. I can't even buy Big Gulp in New York City. Are you kidding me?

It reminds me of the Old Testament with all of the laws, which are impossible to live by and often punishable by stoning death. The difference of course is that there is also a New Testament which was the fulfilling of the law, meaning even when I get it wrong I am spared that death penalty because Jesus already paid that price on my behalf. I accept that He paid my penalty and now I am truly free to live my life. I choose to live a life for Jesus because although the kingdoms of this earth will pass away, even those in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Heaven will reign forever. And for that cause, I will not fight and die, I will love and live, eternally.  

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