Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others Philippians 2:4
Responsibilities are – “something that you ought to do because it is morally or socially right.” Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
We Americans are very proud, and very protective, of the rights that we enjoy. We have been blessed with a constitution and a cultural heritage of many specific rights. To name just a few- the right to free speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right of assembly, the right to vote, the right of facing our accusers in the court of law, the right to due process, the right to remain silent when arrested and the right to not self-incriminate. These are just a few of our hard-won rights. We are so blessed to have been given such a heritage! The other side of those rights are responsibilities. We are expected to:
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
So, in these days of political and social division, lets keep our mind on the balance of these concepts. We have wonderful rights, but we also have responsibilities. We have responsibilities toward our fellow travelers in this world.
We have great freedoms, and one of those freedoms is to limit our own rights, at times, for the benefit of others. Timothy Keller wrote in his book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism –
“In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions. Those that fit with the reality of our nature and the world produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy and fulfillment.
So, we can find freedom in limiting our freedoms at times for the benefit of others. The words of Philippians are difficult to follow, but they produce a freedom unlike those in the Constitution. They can free our soul.
Prayer: Father I thank you for the true freedom you produce as we love one another, Amen.