Independence Day & Our Opinions

flag fireworksIsn’t freedom a wonderful thing?

I’ve always been proud of our nation’s heritage. Just the making of our nation – how and why we became our own independent nation – is something that conjures up pride and even a little bit of envy.

My generation wants to be part of such a momentous age!

Freedom is a big factor in my faith as well.

One of the foundational principles of Christianity of course is salvation from sins which leads to spiritual freedom according to the Bible.

This past weekend I was thinking about how much of a close tie there is between two opposing extremes: freedom and slavery.

Paul the apostle says it this way (take it as a generic analogy):

“….Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? ….Now you are free from your slavery to sin and you have become slaves to righteous living.” Romans 6:15-18 NLT

Some struggle to teach on this verse because it’s really hard to explain how any type of slavery could possibly be positive or even slightly desirable.

He’s basically saying no matter how you work it, you’re a slave to something – it’s how we function as humans. We don’t operate alone and succeed.

So back to the land of the free as a “for instance.” 

America-Flag-MapWe are free, but we owe a debt of gratitude to our nation and those who run and preserve our freedoms – we’re indebted for our freedom. We must be law-abiding, peaceable, productive citizens to maintain our individual freedoms. 

When we start to think of ourselves only as free – free to do whatever we want and be whoever we want whenever we want – we inevitably become entitled and arrogant people. We become a generation often described as entitled.

We begin to be a people with many opinions.

We grow into a nation where even the individual freedoms of two different people cannot peaceably coexist.

We become a people entitled to our own opinions to the detriment of everyone, including ourselves.

We Americans have been raised in a nation which totes this pervasive, culture-defining language: “Freedom,” “Individual Rights,” “Liberty,” and “Independent.”

We believe in standing without the need for or dependence on anyone or anything else.

If anything comes close to acceptable dependency, it is others depending on us. Our own dependency is a sign of weakness. 

When we adopted the name “United States of America,” it quickly became only a description of multiple governments combined under one federal umbrella. Then it became just a name. Then just an acronym: USA. Then we dropped it down to just America to describe our own part of the entire continent it more accurately describes.

I feel like I’m rambling on, but my point is we’ve prided ourselves so much in our independence and freedom, we’ve completely lost the benefits of a certain level of appropriate dependence on others.

Complete and utter independence eventually leads to burn out and failure.

After all, two are better than one, because when one falls, the other can help him up.

Our pride in our independence and personal freedoms without regard to healthy dependency and giving back has led to an entitled society – a society made up of a bunch of people who believe they are entitled to their own opinions.

I do believe Jesus. I believe Jesus was and is the son of God, who belonged to a godhead made up of three persons in one, not independent from each other. I believe He gave up His heavenly residence to become a human infant, completely dependent on mere humans.

All this because he knew we needed him even when we think we can make it on our own. He became dependent to show us the independence we can have in him.

This is the main take away:

Your opinion and my opinion doesn’t matter at all. 

But why doesn’t our opinion matter? I’m very passionate about my opinions! It’s simply my personal belief system!

(side note: anytime, we insert “personal” in front of something, we should examine whether we’re toting a healthy or unhealthy level of independence)

The first obvious reason for the Christian is because we will all die and wake up on the other side to God who will determine our fate regardless of our individual opinions.

But more interestingly, I would argue our opinions don’t ultimately matter because Jesus didn’t even think His ultimately mattered.

Check out what Jesus had to say:

“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:34

What!? He wasn’t all about what his “personal” calling was on earth? He didn’t have his own plan?

Here’s my favorite – something Jesus prayed three times in one night:

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39

Basically, you could insert “opinion” where it says “will.”

Wow. Even JESUS submitted his own wants and opinions to the will of God. He was basically saying, “Ultimately, I know what you decide is what’s best – make my will the same as yours.

That is what I want. I want my opinions to change to be what God’s opinions are.

Because ultimately, the only way my opinions can matter even a little is if they are God’s opinions. 

My question to you and to myself: 

Does that opinion burning with passion inside of you to the level of “absolutely-necessary-Facebook-post” really matter?

An opinion is not worth having unless it matters. 

Let this motivate all of us to examine our opinions and make sure they align with the one whose opinions truly matter in the end.

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