I've been quiet for a few weeks with many things on my mind as I ponder what's going on in the world around me. Things good and things bad, fill the news headlines, although these days it seems there's far more bad than good to be found. Our world seems to be falling apart at the seams and there's little anyone can do to make it better. My heart is so heavily burdened for the suffering Christians in Iraq and Syria right now. I know there are others all over the world, but those groups just seem to be front and center right now. They are being slaughtered and tortured...their only crime being that they follow Jesus and/or refuse to follow Allah.
Here in America we have little to no idea what it's truly like to have to fight for the right to worship freely...or the right to not worship at all. We haven't had to fight for it since our founding fathers did 238 years ago, so we personally take for granted what we have here. We've always had it because it's been handed down to us generation after generation. After awhile it ceases to be important to us. After awhile it doesn't mean anything anymore.
I, myself, have been guilty of taking for granted the freedoms I've been given. Freedoms that someone far up in the branches of my family tree fought and died for. Freedoms that our men and women in uniform today are fighting to maintain. Because I've always had them I rarely notice the fact that they're there at all. It's like a child who's raised in a wealthy family. Money is always there and it loses it's meaning, it's value until it's gone and that child doesn't know how to cope because they never stopped to think about where that money came from. They have no respect for it until it's gone and they have to go earn it for themselves. Then all of a sudden its clear to them, the value.
Our freedoms should never be taken for granted. They weren't free, they've never been free. They came with a heavy price- human lives were lost to purchase it. Soldiers were willing to fight and die for YOU, so that you could have something they didn't have but felt was worth the fight to obtain. Jesus did the same. He died a death that was meant for you and me, so that we wouldn't have to because even our death wasn't enough to pay the price for our salvation. He died willingly so that we could have freedom from the price of sin, freedom from certain eternal death apart from God. He didn't have to do it. But He did.
Remember that the next time you walk into a church and worship freely, without fear of being killed for doing so. Remember that the next time you pass by a church and don't go in because you don't believe.... Because you have the freedom of Religion- to practice or not. Remember that the next time you spout off on Facebook about something in the government or in the news that makes you angry...because you have the freedom of speech. Remember and Respect the freedoms you have because not everyone in the world is so blessed.
And also remember that the others in this country share those freedoms. Just because someone thinks or believes differently than you does not make it okay for you to be ugly or hateful. You want to enjoy your freedoms...so do they and they're perfectly within their rights to do so as openly as you. If we would all start treating each other with dignity and compassion, no matter what they believe, this world would be a much better place. After all, Jesus didn't command us to only love people who think the same way we do...He commanded us to love everyone!