As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day I could not help but to think of the Declaration of Independence which basically begins with this proclamation, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Right, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Yes, today should be a day that involves baseball, hotdogs, apple pies, and fireworks—we have the freedom to enjoy those things each and every day. But if you could, please take a moment to think about what the founding fathers thought of while declaring to the world that those three basic premise’s of independence. Also, while they were not perfect men, keep in mind that they were willing to sacrifice everything for these foundational ideas. Had England prevailed, these men would have certainly been hung for treason.
Life: This is and has been a subject of disagreement in our nation—the spectrum runs from abortion, to the death penalty, to assisted suicide. So, who has the “unalienable Right” the Founders were referring to? Well when we see that they proclaimed the Creator endows life, they were certainly protecting the innocent—yes, the unborn. The other issues, I leave to debate because I want to have total confidence that those making that decision are correct.
Liberty: By legal definition we are talking about being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. I define this this as you have the right to be you as long as you do not impose yourself on me. I always find it interesting when I hear that “we need more laws” when we do not even do a good job of enforcing the current laws or changing them if needed.
Pursuit of Happiness: This one is kind of tough—what does it mean? Happiness is relative right? What makes me happy does not necessarily make someone else happy. So, who gets to decide? Again, I go back to Liberty, do not harm me or my loved ones with what makes you happy and that is your business. For me personally what made me happy, or I prefer the term gave me joy, was when I started walking in friendship with Jesus Christ.
I remember learning early in my faith walk what is taught in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and truth will set you free.” Once I learned the truth of Jesus Christ, what He did for me, what He is doing in me, and what He has planned for me I truly understood what Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness meant. I believe the 56 men who declared independence with their signature and lives understood the same.
Have a great and safe 4th!