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Every day, I am reminded of the importance of freedom; not only the freedom that Jesus Christ offers, but also the freedoms our founders risked their lives to establish in the United States. At the same time, I am witnessing the tragic abuse of these freedoms.
People are too often controlled by the spirit of darkness rather than the spirit of light. Paul watched with a broken heart as New Testament Christians were led away from the freedom they had experienced to again take on a yoke of slavery.1 He foresaw that they would be misled by those whose ideas totally contradicted the grace and life provided through a relationship with Christ. They were being hindered from recognizing and obeying the truth, so Paul warned them that "a little leaven leavens the whole loaf."2 This means that when men teach their opinion in opposition to the truth of God, it spoils the entire message -- even the correct parts. He stressed that freedom must never be an excuse to indulge the flesh and urged them through love to serve one another. When we love our neighbor as ourselves, he said, the whole law would be fulfilled.3
Because of grace, we are given the gift of forgiveness when we confess and forsake our sins. But we must not abuse that grace by using it as an excuse to continuously live in sin.4 Far too many professing believers live out of control and sinfully self-absorbed. This is nothing short of abuse. When we spurn the freedom purchased at such a great price, the result is a rebellious, foolish and defeated life.
Our founders understood that the freedom they sought to provide could only be maintained by people who were responsible and lived with self-control. A hundred years before the Constitution was written, Cotton Mather, the colonial pioneer whom George Washington described as "the father of the founding fathers," said, "Religion hath brought forth prosperity, and the daughter may well destroy the mother -- there is a danger, lest the enchantments of this world make us forget our errand into the wilderness."
The founders understood that freedom from the bondage of the world would be necessary to sustain the kind of freedom they endowed to our nation. The founders were always attentive to the first principles -- supreme authority, a reliable source for truth, and time-tested values to guide the affairs of free men, lest Mather's prophecy become true. Sadly, at this moment in history, we seem to have lost sight of the very standards that made our country great.
One example of this abuse will commence with the New York City trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators. These perpetrators of evil are being granted the rights of citizens. The system they so vehemently seek to destroy will be theirs to exploit to their destructive ends. They will have a platform from which to spew their diabolic ideals. Out of "sensitivity" to murderers, those who lost loved ones on 9/11 will have to suffer this circus. It's like inviting a smut peddler to show pornographic movies in an elementary school in the name of "free speech." Our blood-bought freedom is being used to promote those who wish to spill more of our blood.
Our economy has also suffered due to the abuse of freedom. Greed and excess in a free market can make capitalism a dirty word. Those who oppose freedom in trade and commerce paint economic liberty as the enemy. In some cases, those who have been blessed ignore the needs of others, even taking profit as the company lays off employees or closes down. They sacrifice others for their own selfish gain, build "bigger barns" and serve their own lusts. Consequently, some have erroneously targeted the very opportunity to gain wealth, painting the freedom, instead of the abuse, as the culprit. Those who don't see the difference fail to understand how the creation of wealth actually multiplies its positive effect by providing jobs, sustaining charities and creating additional opportunities. The free market has been successful because of trust and legitimate competition and the desire to serve and meet the needs of others. It is the farmer taking seed (capital), planting it in fertile ground (investments), expecting an increase (return), enduring the hard times (wise planning), involving others in the process (job creation), sharing the harvest (profits and dividends) and leaving the "corners of the fields" for the poor (charity).
As the president of an organization that relies on the charitable gifts of others, I understand how a profitable free market system allows us to truly become "our brothers' keeper" because we have the capital to better serve those in need. Most effective charities are funded by successful businesses and the bountiful salaries of their owners and workers. This is critical, because government-run charitable work almost always fails to truly make a difference. Without a compassionate human connection, any effort to "help the poor" will always prove futile and fruitless.
Welfare and hand-outs can actually destroy lives, making generations of people dependent on political power brokers. Through an abuse of democracy, political "sugar daddies" manipulate those who depend on them and derive the power to confiscate the productivity of good citizens. This is the greatest destroyer of jobs, opportunities and freedom you can ever imagine. The ever-increasing, never-ending tax burden will damage the weak more severely than any plague. In fact, it will hurt the poor worse than the rich.
Foolish leaders shoot at the wrong target because they lack any understanding of our founding principles. Many times they will say the right words, but an examination of their actions reveals that they do not understand the principles necessary to truly create an environment of wealth, civility and freedom.
Another area of great abuse lies in the freedom of the press. Many in the media detest the very principles upon which their freedom is based. They are biased against Biblical truth, the Christian faith and anyone who wishes to conserve and preserve the original intent of our nation's founders. They mock those with God-centered principles. They uphold as heroes those who work to undermine the family, faith and absolute truth. Many of them have betrayed journalistic integrity and become character assassins. They are beyond biased; they are actively destroying freedom.
I admit that I am biased. I am biased toward the truth of the Bible as an absolute and understandable foundation. I favor a limited government that serves people rather than enslaves them. I believe that God is our provider, not government or its representatives. I am for keeping free people free, to be productive and profitable. Our freedom is not just worth dying for, it's worth living for, upholding and defending with every ounce of our being.
I encourage every reader to closely observe the abuses of our freedom and pray. Pray for the wisdom to recognize truth and adhere to the principles necessary to maintain freedom. Talk is cheap; core principles, not words, determine one's actions. We must learn to gravitate toward truth, not just those who occasionally speak the truth. Absolute truth must be the only foundation upon which we build. Leaders make speak with great skill, but their actions will determine whether they are truly great leaders or merely manipulators of men. Stand with me and pray for our nation's return to sanity and the preservation of and appreciation for our freedom.
1 Galatians 5:1
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 1361
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.