Privileges & Rights
I love chatting with my wife in the wee hours of the morning, before the sunrise, and by the light of the lantern. We always cover all the bases before moving on to our devotions - kids, family, state of the union, current events, business. It's sweet and quiet time that has become a staple of our marriage.
Today we were talking about our constitutional freedoms, the 1st and 2nd amendments, why I'm choosing to get off of facebook and other social media that is openly against those rights, and Kari mentioned that those were privileges more than they are rights.
Here's my thinking on that.
Over 1.3 million Americans have given their lives and died for their country, to form, protect and preserve these United States. They fought, bled, and gave it all willingly for the idea of America. Their sacrifice earned you and I the privilege to claim those rights as citizens of this country.
Somewhere a Dad gave up the privilege of walking his daughter down the aisle, a Mom gave up the privilege of seeing her boy become a man, a Brother gave up the privilege of having a family of his own, a Sister gave up the privilege of falling in love. Generations upon generations have laid down their lives on the altar to give you and I the freedoms, the rights that we enjoy today. When we begin to see the cost of that heavy price as only a privilege, well then we start to think lightly of what it took to for us to claim them as our own. We didn't earn them, they were given, and if we begin to see those freedoms as such an arbitrary thought then we shouldn't mind so much when they are taken away.
But we should mind, and I think for us to give up something that was so preciously bought is dishonorable.
As a Christian, I understand that this is not our home. I understand that we are sojourners and really have no rights, that these are light and momentary afflictions in the scope of eternity. I also understand that I am an American, and millions died to give me the privilege to claim those rights, of freedom of speech, to keep and bear arms, to keep big government in check by state government. I once lived in a country where those rights were not inherited, where the people were held under the thumb of a corrupt government that sought their own gain over the welfare of their own people. Those people did not grow up with the right to keep arms or speak freely and openly, and they surely did not have any means secured to keep their government in check. It is a constant uphill battle for them to dream for their children, to give it better than they were given, and to leave it better than they were left. For us to give up even an inch of these rights is to give up the dream of America. It is to make small a sacrifice that the millions who died before us dreamed to see live on for generations to come.
In much the same way and on a far greater level, Jesus Christ willfully went to the cross to pay the ultimate price for us. He died so that we might have the privilege to claim the right to be called the sons and daughters of God and stand before Him on His righteousness. Jesus didn't die for a privilege, He died to secure our right to eternal freedom, a gift that we didn't fight for and couldn't earn on our own.
Some verses to apply, not to stretch and contort them out of context but to consider the thought, the honor, and respect that should be the low hanging fruit born from such great sacrifice.
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal 2.21)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15.13)