Photo credit: Pim Warnars
This is going to be controversial, mostly because it will go against widely accepted logic.
"Give me liberty or give me death."
Attributed to Patrick Henry in a speech of 1775, although first recorded by those present decades after the event.
Could it be that is some cases liberty is their means of injury or even death? Let me explain.
We have taken a beating on Facebook as church leadership, when we would not use the platform to push for creating and uprising against the Syrian Regime waging war against it's own people. The reasoning went like this: Jesus chose not to enter political battles, so we will pattern our ministry after what we see exhibitted by him. That was rejected and the person in question left the church and by all outward signs has walked away from the faith.
It is an observation that liberty is killing more people annually than hatred. The World Health Organisation states that 5 million people die annually do to smoking tobacco and another 600,000 die due to second hand smoke. That is a personal choice - no one forced smoking on these individuals. I venture to say that is still more than perish annually than terrorism and war. Unchecked liberty can cause death.
A parent caught abusing a child is arrested. Lock a child in a hot car ... you should be arrested and punished. In spite of the media warnings, dozens of toddlers will suffer unspeakable suffering when left in a vehicle this year.
Abuse a fetus by smoking, drinking or abusing narcotics? Personal choice and society looks the other way. Unchecked liberty can cause harm.
I am against war and anger. Don't get me wrong. I am even against anger voiced against me, when I choose not to be of another individual's persuasion. I dislike tension in relationships. I do find it odd, that those most militant about stopping people dying - via war or terrorism, are strangely silent about untold thousands dying through personal choices and abused liberty. Let's get rid of cars and immediately stop driving fatalities.
Get rid of cyber-bullying by restricting cell phones or killing the internet? Unthinkable. Unchecked liberty can cause harm. Words do hurt a tender soul.
God gets the blame for not stopping accidents and tragedies. Many untold millions would not have to perish, if we would give up our freedom of choice in cars, flying, guns, alcohol, drugs, etc. That seems to be the line in the sand that we are not willing to negotiate. Give up anything personally? What is the matter with you? How dare you even suggest something. God in His infinite love has chosen to have a relationship, rather than creating pre-programmed robots. And yet it is that liberty that has opened a whole array of danger.
So be careful of your personal choices and so-called liberties. The apostle Paul would put it this way:
"All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Be wise, not just legal. Our liberty, bought by Christ, is a precious and dangerous commodity.