July. Barbecues and fireflies. Pool parties and fireworks. Lots of fireworks.
July fourth has passed, but each evening the night air resounds with evidence of leftover fireworks stashes being depleted.
Celebrating the birth of our nation is fun, but it’s easy to forget that those fireworks are meant to mimic the sounds of battle…battles in which lives were lost in the fight for freedom. A freedom which united this nation as the United States of America.
While we enjoy the benefits of those freedoms, our conversations often seem to celebrate division rather than unity.
These days it’s almost impossible to have a calm discussion about the direction of our nation and the relative merits of our various political leaders. Emotions run high and opinions are severely divided. Permanent rifts have been created in families. Long-term friendships have been destroyed.
It can be difficult to separate our opinions about our nation from our opinions about our leaders. Even historical leaders have come under scrutiny as cherished, traditional views are challenged.
Children are not immune from the political bickering in their families, churches, schools, and neighborhoods. They pick up the language—both good and bad—of those they admire. They have learned to refer to those on the other side of the political aisle with names they would never be allowed to use in any other context.
Whether Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, it’s time for us to learn how to disagree without compromising our convictions or our Christian character. Can we disagree without demonizing those who disagree with us?
The bottom line is that the United States is still a great nation whose freedom was purchased and protected by the lives of men and women who believed the sacrifice was worth it.
It’s up to us to live worthy of the price they paid.