Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Day


      Two days ago, those of us who live in America celebrated Independence Day - our national day set aside to reflect on what it truly means to be free.  Watching the news it seems the whole world is either fighting their battles for freedom or celebrating new found freedom.  You may have heard it said that "with freedom comes responsibility". How true that is.  Reckless freedom is not truly freedom at all.  Freedom does not mean we can say what we want or do what we want without considering how it affects another human being.  It does not mean that we can belittle another person just to make ourselves appear bigger.  Well I suppose we can in all those instances, but we shouldn't.  While human tendency is towards self-preservation, I choose to believe that the human spirit is more powerful and is more about self-sacrifice for the good of others.  We see it every day.  A firefighter battles a blaze putting his own life in jeopardy to save a family or a neighborhood.  A policeman steps into the darkest corners of his city becoming a beacon of hope protecting citizens.  A nurse or a doctor spend countless hours in an ER with little sleep committed to saving lives of the sick and injured.   A soldier leaves his or her family to cross the ocean in order to fight for the freedom of others.  A mother spends hours, days, months and years putting her own needs aside for the good of her children and spouse - doing without so they can be cared for.  A companion completes a long day at work then comes home to be by the bedside of his sick spouse finding energy somehow to care for her, the children and their home.  A stranger steps into harms way to rescue another in danger, or puts aside their own needs to help someone in greater need.  A technician battles the most adverse conditions to repair electrical lines, or computer networks or whatever else may be in dis-array to assure others are taken care of and not left without necessary services.  Yes the human spirit does not take liberties nor freedom lightly and does not flex its muscle of independence simply because it can. 

     So what about those that do abuse this liberty, this freedom?  What about those that take human life with little regard, those that try to usurp authority over basic civil rights and freedom; those who simply want to bring suffering in the life of another or take away any good and any dignity a person has managed to do or obtain through hardship and yes even through mistakes and failures from the past?  None of us are perfect.  As the "good book" has stated (a southern term for the Bible in case you haven't heard it before), "all have sinned" and "he that is without sin let him cast the first stone."   So I wonder.  Why does an individual feel the need to put another down?  What joy is there in making life even harder for one who is already struggling?  I have had such individuals in my life and some who still surface on occasion that feel the need to belittle, demean, shed the worst possible light on who I am and what I stand for.  I can't lie.  It hurts; deeply it hurts.  It angers me at times but most often it produces a deep sense of sorrow and pity - not for myself but for the perpetrator of hurt.  You see what I've come to understand is that hurt breeds hurt, fear breeds fear, hate breeds hate, intolerance breeds intolerance.  So I look at certain people who lurk around in the darkest places of my life waiting to pounce, to speak ugliness, to spew venom, to attack my personality, my looks, my life's purpose, my intent, to bring up mistakes and failures form the past all in an effort to thwart the good that I have determined in my heart to do today.  Then I remember.  It is my Maker that sees and knows and the One that I must answer to each day.  When my head hits the pillow at night only He knows my heart, my desire.  I wish to be received by others and to gain their approval, but sometimes no matter what one does, there will always be naysayers using their freedom in a way that tears down rather than lifts up.  It hurts my heart!  You know what I really want to do for those in such cases?  I want to wrap my emotional arms around their heart, I want to take my emotional hands and break the chains in their mind and say "It is okay. You don't have to hurt me or anyone anymore because there is a way you can stop your own hurt and break the cycle."  Maybe I can do that and maybe I can't, but I can at least get the word out there today.  I can use my freedom of speech responsibly and publicly on this blog forum to say "I forgive you - you are loved! God loves you and so do I."   We all have a choice as to how we use our freedom.  We can hurt or heal, we can tear down or build up.  We can produce fear or provide protection.  We can encourage or we can dampen the human spirit.  It all starts and ends in our own hearts.  If there is something deep within that hurts so terribly that causes you to lash out and hurt another, my prayer is that you find the courage to face that "demon" of doubt and hurt that has been hiding in the recesses of your soul, so that the light of your own heart can shine again and illuminate the way for others. This is true freedom!  You can make a difference.  YOU ARE LOVED truly and deeply....