The gift of freedom comes with consequences. When a man or woman sins against another a judge will judge them, but when he or she sins against the Lord he judges them (1 Sam 2:25). With the free choice of behavior - if it is rebellious we’ll be turning away from the Word of the Lord, and he’ll reject us (1 Sam 15:23). With freedom we’ve all gone out of the way, no one does good, not one, our tongues have been used to deceive, our feet are used to shed blood, and there’s no fear of God (Rom 3:10-18). From birth we were conceived in sin (Ps 51:5). With iniquity in our hearts God will not hear us, but he’ll listen to us if we pray for forgiveness (Ps 66:18-19). Bob Dylan (b. 1941), a singer-songwriter, artist and writer said, “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.” To be a hero is like being a leader. In being such an individual it’s necessary to know how to lead. The gift leaders have makes them able to decide what’s best for their followers.
The president of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) wrote, “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us may have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Undoubtedly our desires will face obstacles. We’ve to do so time and time again before succeeding.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005), a civil rights activist, who has put a different spin on freedom, was mainly concerned with the rights of black Americans when she said: “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free...so other people would be also free.” Parks hoped this goal would come to mean freedom for others.
Freedom of Speech
A founding father and first president of the United States George Washington (1732–1799) wrote, “If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Washington spoke in favor of freedom of speech. Many Americans agree that without it there would be many more unresolved problems were it not for this freedom. Many citizens’ rights would be trampled with far reaching consequences.
Patrick Henry (1736–1799), an attorney, planter, and politician reflected on the sentiments of freedom lovers when he said, “I know not what others may choose but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” Freedom is so important that Henry preferred to die than to live without it.
Freedom of Justice
An activist and civil rights leader Coretta King (1927–2006) said, “Freedom of Justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.” Freedom must be inclusive. It binds people together, builds them up, and gives them hope in the political system. It’s all about equal treatment under the law.
Our government must have the powers to uphold freedom for all its citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and leader in the African-American civil rights movement wrote, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Undeniably there are forces at work willing to suppress human rights. In our society all should enjoy the fruits of freedom. Only then our nation’s egalitarian gifts can blossom.