In last month’s newsletter leading up to Memorial Day, I shared the poignant words penned by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg address. His words have inspired generations to reflect on the great sacrifice made by the men and women of our Armed Forces over the years.
As we approach the celebration of the 242nd birthday of the United States of America, I thought it fitting to revisit the foundational document that helped shape our country to become a land like no other on the face of the earth – the Declaration of Independence. Reflect with me on some excerpts from these courageous, history changing words from our Founding Fathers:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….
…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
One can glean many takeaways from the Declaration of Independence, but here are three that stand out to me:
- Tough decisions need to be made in life – and some will be offended. But when our consciences – before God – are seared with the belief that the status quo is no longer a viable option, action must be taken.
- We must be determined that racial prejudice finds no vacancy in our hearts. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.
- We must be committed – as believers in Christ – to stand together in the battle for our culture. We can start by “mutually pledging” to form relationships through supporting one another in business and ministry – across the denominational, racial, and ethnic lines that too often divide us on Sunday mornings.
And finally, in light of the freedoms we celebrate on the Fourth of July, let us remember that true freedom is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. May we remain ever compelled to share this good news with our neighbor:
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday!
Christian Blue Network
For the entire text of the Declaration of Independence, visit http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/