Respect. As an American, what is that? An appreciation of someone’s age. An acknowledgement of someone’s expertise. A deference to someone’s education. An act of chivalry. A Good Samaritan. A putting aside of one’s own feelings or attitudes. A time to truly reflect on the journey and sacrifice of another. A time to mourn a sacrifice. A loss. A gratitude of heart for the opportunities afforded you at the cost of someone else.
As I stand overlooking the too-numerous headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, I believe it is time to stop taking advantage of our freedoms. Freedom fought for and gained, but we have taken it to persecute others – taken advantage of others all in the name of “our rights.”
As a servant of the Most High God, we have freedoms and rights – to give everything we have, to serve with all our energy, to forgive completely, to bear each other’s burdens, to give up entitlements, and to walk humbly before our God. Micah 6:8 says, “Mankind, God has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness and to walk humbly with your God.”
Respecting our freedoms is likened to driving. We have the freedom to drive whenever and wherever. Our freedom is abused and taken away – at our expense and also at others’ expense – when we drive on the wrong side of the road or disobey speed limits and traffic signs and signals. These laws were not meant to inflict restriction, but to enable all to enjoy the freedom of movement. Our American citizenship is the same. Respect the laws. Respect each other. Respect yourself. Be humbled in the knowledge that your life and pursuit of dreams has blood on it. A mother’s son or daughter was killed for you to say what you want, express your opinions, and meet in assembly and serve your God.
I cried today at the Changing of the Guards ceremony. No name. No legacy for a family. Yet you walk in that soldier’s sacrifice for freedom. Watch what you say, because it was paid for at a price. Be careful what you pursue in your happiness because those dreams and aspirations are soaked in blood. As an American, respect the blood.
Romans 3:25 says, “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” Jesus paid that ultimate sacrifice for you. He was beaten and bruised, cursed and crucified – for you and me. Why? To walk in freedom.
Take some time to think about the word respect. What does it mean to you as an American? What does it mean to you as a Christian? Take time to respect the blood.