Every year on July 4th, Americans celebrate the freedom fought for and achieved by our ancestors. On that fateful day in 1776, all of America was finally able to see the fruit of their labor. Black and white soldiers alike were celebrated in their acts of heroism. Independent from the tyranny of Britain, these brave soldiers could now embrace their freedom to religion, expression, and, at the root of it all, a voice. The women who served as cooks, seamstresses, maids, and many others were rewarded for their selflessness by gaining representation in the government they helped form. As a whole, the American people decided to form a government that represented, for every citizen, the independence they fought so hard for.
Although we would like to believe that our history is clean and beautiful, one can’t help but notice the hypocrisy and inconsistency of our claims vs. actions. The same men who chanted “No Taxation Without Representation” left a whole race of people stripped even from the title of human. Similarly, those who wanted freedom from the tyranny of a king dubbed themselves dictators of their wives and homes. Many of the different faces of America look to our country’s history with a feeling of betrayal. If this is our country’s version of freedom, why are we celebrating it?
The truth is that freedom is rarely fully achieved at the deciding moment in which it’s claimed. In fact, the life of one who accepts salvation reflects this unintentional and paradoxical design of liberty: the design which necessitates a gaining of new independence after freedom is supposedly already achieved. When a believer accepts Christ, he accepts freedom from the sin that enslaves him. If this sin no longer has a hold on us, why does it come naturally to us? The gift God gives in freedom is free will. Because of salvation, we become aware of what separates us from God, and we can choose to walk away, thus expressing our love to God.
America is blessed to have a Declaration of Independence founded on the freedom of its people. Although it took some time for everyone to be fully represented, this set in motion the formation of a country who would fight to prove that all colors of people deserve to be considered as such. This country birthed women who recognized rights being infringed upon and spoke up in defense of themselves and their sisters.
In all honesty, there probably isn’t one good thing to say about the United States that would be agreed upon by all of its citizens. However, this acknowledgment of differing opinions represents that our country allows room for such diversity. Even though our problems will never be fully solved, our freedom of speech allows us to address them and leads to solutions. When we hear of injustice happening in our country, most are appalled and left with a sense of shame. I find this presence of shame and offense encouraging.
This shows me that I live in a country built by people who recognize the inalienable rights in which we are founded and embrace their civic duty to speak up in defense when infringements are made.
I celebrate Independence Day not because those who formed our country did it perfectly. Rather, I’m proud to be part of a country willing to recognize and address the ways we fall short. Because of God’s grace, my walk with Him isn’t defined by my shortcomings. Although Christ paid the price for my freedom, I have the daily choice to walk in accordance. America didn’t have the purest birth, and our founders made a lot of mistakes that hurt a lot of people. But what a beautiful thing it is, our ability to look back and see in the darkness, hear in the silence, the value of those not mentioned. How did we learn to do this?
Every year on July 4th, Americans celebrate the freedom fought for and achieved by our ancestors. On this fateful day in 2020, America is able to recognize the fruit of all labor. Black and white Americans alike are celebrated in their acts of heroism. Independent from the tyranny of our history, these brave Americans can claim and embrace their freedom to religion, expression, and, at the root of it all, a voice. The women who work as mothers, teachers, CEOs, and many others are rewarded for their labor by gaining recognition and respect in the country they helped form. As a whole, the American people continue to shape a country that represents, for every citizen, the independence that was fought so hard for.