By Kelly Carr
It happens every time. At every Cincinnati Reds home game, they pause between innings to honor a local member of the military. These “hometown heroes” have been nominated by friends and family. As I stand to clap alongside thousands of others in the crowd, I tear up every time. I tear up just writing about it now!
I continue to be in awe of the men and women who currently serve and have served our country. They have strength and bravery I cannot fathom.
Today, having just celebrated our country and its independence, I contemplate both the topics of honor and freedom. Each year at this time, I gain a new depth of understanding on these subjects.
The honor shown in ovations, ceremonies, and memorials for military personnel is a great example for us to live out in all areas of our lives. When I see men and women in the armed forces receive respect, I should also consider how well I offer such dignity to all the people I encounter in my day.
Our actions and words can either espouse or deny honor to others. Whether I am communicating on social media, driving in my car, or interacting at the store, how do I treat people who are made in the image of God? Do I give them the same regard as those veterans in my midst? Do I esteem them as much as I want to be esteemed?
The concept of freedom means something different to people in different points in history and in different parts of the world. Privileges I participate in daily and take for granted are freedoms people are praying for in other countries.
Besides the civic freedoms we have, as Christians we have a bounty of spiritual freedoms. One interesting aspect of the freedom God allows is our free will to love him or not. He doesn’t force our devotion to him, though he could.
So many times our choices cause more bondage than liberty. Don’t you think it devastates God to watch us use our free will irresponsibly? His Spirit stirs hearts, works wonders, and gets our attention when we sin—but he waits for us to make the decision to respond and return. That freedom he gives comes with the risk that we may not come back to him. Yet when we do, thankfully the Lord still offers grace and love in response.
God has given us the privilege to offer due honor and to live true freedom—let’s take him up on those opportunities.