Sometimes you can hear something over and over again, even repeating it numerous times, and never really stop to consider what it means. We kind of mindlessly accept the truth of things that are more habit or assumption than they are certain. We assume the meaning of things and the certainty of things from many different forums.
The phrase from the Star-Spangled Banner “the land of the free and the home of the brave” recently came to mind. We sing it at baseball games and other moments of reverence and honor for our land. As citizens, it doesn’t require much attention, I don’t suppose. The conclusion I was working from (to the degree that I had even considered it) was that the bravery defended and supported the freedom by fighting when necessary. That is a reasonable and valid conclusion.
As a Christ follower, I believe that there may be even deeper meaning. We certainly value the freedom but maybe the bravery required for preservation of freedom runs deeper than the armed forces. Maybe the home of the brave is a pre-requisite for the benefits and burdens of freedom.
There is a certain courage required to allow others to do what they want within certain contexts. It takes courage and conviction to know what I believe in such a manner than allows others to disagree by their own choices.
We consistently declare that we are a Christian nation, but tend to imply within that declaration that everyone should act like Christ. He invited others into a transformation of the heart but allowed the rejection of His invitation knowing that there is no love in a mandate. The application of freedom in a Kingdom context requires the release of legal imperatives to allow for adherence born out of relationship more so than regulation.
If we can’t afford others this basic courtesy, then ours is not a faith of love, but instead it would be one of manipulation. We have to release the expectations we develop for others and trust the same love of Christ that rescued us to be available and sufficient for them. That love and the corresponding transformation is available at their choosing and it takes courage of conviction to live free.