Let’s talk First Amendment. If you need a refresher, it reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
America is often looked to as the pinnacle of freedom. That freedom is largely due to protections given to us in the Constitution, namely the ones listed above on which several other hinge. But how far can this system of freedom take us? How well can it explain to us how to navigate our freedom?
Not far, it seems. I submit to you that we’ve lost our ever-loving minds in the name of so called freedom. Is the problem in the fact that we have a document stating our right to specific freedoms? Not at all. The problem is in our interpretation of those freedoms. The problem is a human one.
By allowing false dichotomies to exist in the name of freedom, we’ve actually started a journey down the road of squashing the very things we are trying to protect. Looking simply at the freedoms allowed in the First Amendment and how we’ve chosen to interpret those for every individual whim makes the case in point.
Freedom of religion, freedom from religion and freedom to undermine religion in favor of self-expression run on equal footing. Freedom of speech and freedom to feel offended at every whim must stand equally protected. Freedom to protest without taking a clear stance on the issue at hand is commonplace.
Am I asking that we ignore the fact that you must give up certain freedoms to protect others? No. I’m asking us to take a look at how we should navigate our freedom. Though the Constitution helps define those and is something we should be thankful for, I’m suggesting it only takes us so far. America may be a free country, but American culture cannot save.
So, what do we do with freedom? The ultimate answer is found in Scripture.
Galatians 5:1 states, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
I stated earlier that our problem is a human one. That human problem is called sin. Sin is why culture, no matter how free, cannot save. If our hope is placed in its freedoms we will remain in this confusion. Hope in a nation, even a free one, is a yoke of slavery. Where sin persists, true freedom does not.
So, how do we turn from this yoke of slavery and walk in true freedom? Turn to Christ, trust in His death.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus,” as stated in Romans 6:6-11.
Be thankful to live in a free nation, but navigate that freedom correctly even when the culture doesn’t. Do so by turning from sin and walking in newness of life. Don’t hope in a nation. Hope in Jesus Christ.