I have the best of both worlds. I was born and raised in the United States of America, and have now lived in Canada for close to 47 years. My US passport allows me to travel in and out of my birth country as often as I like. My Canadian Permanent Resident Card allows me to enter my adopted country without worry of being turned away.
This week, both of these countries are observing special celebrations. Canada Day on July 1st, and Independence Day on July 4th. Although these celebrations have quite different origins, the countries enjoy the same types of freedoms and liberties. We have the freedom to choose our life’s work and career. We have the freedom to gather together and worship our Saviour. We have the freedom to hold to individual thoughts, beliefs and opinions. We have the freedom to express those opinions while respecting the rights and freedoms of others.
The day that I decided to follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness, I became a Child of God and a Citizen of God’s Kingdom. As a daughter of the King of Kings, I gained additional freedoms and liberties that day. I gained freedom from the punishment for my sin, and I gained the liberty of knowing that my future, though not always easy, is directed by an all knowing and loving God.
Several months ago an acquaintance of mine made a statement that prompted me to study the scripture about our freedom in Christ. I wanted to be sure I was clear on my understanding of just what this freedom means to me, and how it ought to affect my lifestyle.
There are many verses that speak of freedom. One verse speaks of both having freedom, and being a slave.
”As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.” 1 Peter 2:16 (HCSB)
Paul writes about lifestyle liberties in his letter to Jesus’ followers living in Corinth.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
Yes, I may have the “right”, to do what I want to, but I need to keep several things in mind. Is it beneficial to me and to others? Is it constructive? Will it make me a better person? Will this behaviour benefit only me, or will it also help those whose lives I touch?
Above all, I must keep in mind what I read in verse 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Whatever I choose to do, or say, will it bring Glory to my Creator, Saviour and Lord?
There are events that are forever seared into my memory; the day I saw Mt. Rushmore for the first time, the night I “really” noticed my fellow classmate who later became my husband. These are great memories.
There are some memories, however, that bring sadness, even years later.
I was visiting a family with my mom and sister when I was about ten or eleven years old. The family had three or four children at the time. The mom and dad are lovely people with hearts of gold.
They are the kind of folks who go out of their way to help others. They loved their children and provided well for them.
Their youngest son was in the room, and began to misbehave. He continued to pester and cause a scene. What I could not believe, even at the young age of eleven, was that the parents looked at us and laughed! They didn’t speak to this child, correct him, or even send him to his room. When my mom, sister and I left, I mentioned this to my mom. She was also surprised at the lack of discipline.
As the years passed, I was not surprised as I would hear news that one child after another, except for one, went through difficult times, and brought much heartache to those parents.
It makes me very sad when I see parents afraid to give their children boundaries. I am sad when they are afraid to say “no” to their children. Someday these children will learn that they cannot do whatever they like, and will suffer the consequences. Who better to teach and guide them than the people who love them the
most? Who better to discipline them than those who will do it with love and understanding? Giving children boundaries and limits does not hem a child in or harm them in any way. It gives them a
sense of security, safety and freedom. They learn how to live within guidelines that benefit them and others.
"Son (and daughter) hear the instruction of your father, and do
not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head and chains about your neck."
The ornaments described in these verses will not only be worn on the children, but these children will be graceful ornaments for their parents.
Then there are children who seem to ignore all of the godly teaching and guidance their parents have tried to instill into their lives. My heart breaks for these parents. There are verses that give hope and comfort to these dear parents.
Hebrews 12:11: “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but
painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it..."
“train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old will not depart from it.”
Parents, be the loving guide, protector, and teacher your kids need! Be the parent your child longs for, and then commit them into God’s loving hands each day.
Debi Snider... more