Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Lamentations 5:1-10 and 1 Peter 2:13-25.

1 Peter 2:16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. (NIV)

            Freedom is a wonderful gift which should be cherished, encouraged, and protected by people everywhere. All over the world, there are regions and nations where liberty is denied and justice is callously set aside. For freedom to be truly experienced, equality and dignity have to be made available and shared with everyone, even with those whom we disagree. Freedom does not work if people cannot express their views, opinions, or ideas. We may not agree with what people think or say, but if we choose to forcefully silence dissent or stridently suppress the opposition, then we are no longer free; instead, we are held captive to our choices and enslaved by our own prejudices.

            When the apostle Peter was writing to the newly formed Christian churches, he wanted them to personally experience the freedom that Christ had obtained for humanity through His crucifixion. They were set free from the eternal consequences of their sins, so they could now live as a free people – freed from fear and liberated from guilt – whose response to this great grace from God should have been to love and forgive one another. However, as Peter rightly cautioned those believers, they were also not to abuse their deliverance from damnation as a means of covering up evil. God had pardoned them through Jesus, but this did not mean they were now free to do what they liked or to justify their sins. It meant that they should respond by serving God faithfully, doing what He wanted, and sharing this great privilege of being forgiven.

            As we approach a great day of liberty – the 4th of July – let’s cherish our freedom by sharing our Christian faith in the best ways that we can: accepting and forgiving one another, as well as listening to and loving each other, especially with those whom we disagree.

Point to ponder: How can I celebrate my faith and cherish freedom at the same time?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You commanded us to love God and one another. To truly practice this, we will have to overcome our loathing and despising of those whom we strongly oppose. Help us to embrace and be changed by Your commands. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

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