Are We Really Free_Memorial Day_Norma Dougherty

The eagle – the symbol of America – of power, strength, majesty, and freedom.

Freedom – the reason we celebrate Memorial Day to remember those who fought and died for our independence.

But are we really free? We hear we are stronger economically than we have been in decades. This satisfies us physically. We are more intelligent than ever due to the abundance of knowledge. This satisfies our minds.

But what good is money and knowledge when we are so bound up spiritually – when our moral values have drastically declined?

Are we really free when our leaders are bound up in arguing and attacking each other, having forgotten The Golden Rule to do unto others, or to love one another, or to treat others as better than ourselves?

Are we really free when our nation has an identity crisis where drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise, where suicide is on the rise – when we don’t know who we are as individual people?

Are we really free when our “pursuit of happiness” is based on selfish motives, greed, and power?

The great philosopher Socrates (300 BC) once asked the question: “What is the right way, or the best way for man to live?” We are still asking that question today! Socrates concluded that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Examining one’s life includes examining the heart, the spirit and our relationship with our Creator God.

There is a scripture verse that says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4: 23 NIV). Everything! All our choices, our decisions, our actions flow from the heart!

I learned that the pursuit of happiness is temporal and circumstantial. The true essence of the human heart comes in knowing the difference between circumstantial happiness and the deep joy of the love of God.

Then we can answer Socrates’ question: “What is the right way for man to live? To do what the Lord requires of us: that is: “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).

Therein lies our true freedom. Therein do we truly honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for us.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)