Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.19.2010

To Be More Safe

I have been reading through The Federalist Papers for some time now, and I have discovered them to be surprisingly compelling and pertinent. I find myself quoting them often: “Well, Alexander Hamilton said…” until those around me must be tired indeed of the Federalist Papers trump card! But one of my all-time favorite quotes from these papers comes from the 8th one. Alexander Hamilton observed, “Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct….To be more safe, [nations] at length, become willing to run the risk of being less free.” Oh the uproar he must have aroused! The American people above all others are the most jealous of their liberty, and yet Hamilton dared suggest that the one thing that could entice them to sacrifice that liberty was safety?

How right he was.

In the Civil War, we remained safe, but liberty began to crumble.
In the Depression, we pulled out of it, but only with the sacrifice of liberty.
And now, we may overcome the problematic health-care system, but at the cost of our last shreds of liberty. Yes, the American people hold onto their precious liberty until it will cost them their safety. We hold onto it until standing up for liberty costs our shelter, our food, or our very lives, and then we turn and walk away, leaving liberty on the chopping block.

“To be more safe, we become willing to run the risk of being less free.”
Christians do this, too.

In the moment when we silently stand before an unbeliever who has just said something that perfectly opens the door for a witnessing opportunity, we sacrifice our freedom in Christ for our comfort level and choose safety over liberty when we keep our mouths shut.

In the moment when we realize that God is asking us to do that, and we turn the other way, Jonah-like, choosing safety again over freedom, we put ourselves in bondage to Satan, all for the sake of the elusive safety and security.
In the moment when someone is being falsely accused, derided, or embarrassed, and we choose the safety of our reputations over the freedom that comes from doing right, we are fulfilling Alexander Hamilton’s words.

Liberty, you see, is a convoluted and misunderstood concept. We think that having liberty is having safety, but often having liberty is being put behind bars or shunned. And often, having safety of the kind America has is the surest way to becoming vulnerable and defenseless.

We think that liberty is something the government gives us, but it is really something that God gives us.
We think that dying for the sake of liberty is honorable, but we will not even stand up for the sake of liberty.
We think that liberty is a privilege for which we will mourn if it disappears, but it is really a responsibility for the disappearance of which we will forever be accountable. Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Insert here truth and conviction with a helping of sarcasm: "Therefore thus says the LORD: 'You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,' says the LORD--'to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth. (Jeremiah 34:17)”

What to do then if we are to avoid God's liberty to judgment? Alexander Hamilton challenged his people that “This is an idea not superficial or futile, but solid and weighty. It deserves the most serious and mature consideration of every prudent and honest man of whatever party.”
Paul challenged his readers to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)”

I challenge you to confess the sin of the “comfort zone,” for it is usually a cover for apathy. I challenge you to dig deep and ask, “Is my safety more important to me than my liberty?” I challenge you to imagine what your stance would have been in the War for Independence, when men spurned safety for the sake of liberty in Christ and government. And I challenge you to choose today that you will spurn safety for the sake of liberty: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”


Picture Credit

3 comments:

  1. Good thoughts, Lauren. Very good thoughts.
    What wise men aided in the shaping of our nation! If only more people took their advice and considerations to heart - politically and spiritually!
    Thank you for the insights and the challenges.

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  2. Lauren, thank you for once again causing your blog readers to think, question, ponder and probe our minds and hearts. Even as I sit thousands of miles away from America, and not always having easy access to the news there, I know I can still pray and "stand" for liberty. God bless!

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  3. Sarah--God surely blessed them with wisdom, didn't He? I wish He would knock a few of our leaders over the head with that wisdom today! (-:
    Ruthie--that would be so hard to be so far away with all that is going on! We watched the health care bill pass the House last night around 11 Eastern time, and the Democrats erupted into clapping and chanting "Yes We Can." It brought us to our knees.
    Thanks for your encouragement!

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