As often happens with the quotes that I collect from the Jack’s Winning Words blog, the quote that Pastor Freed used today goes well with the one from yesterday when one puts them in juxtaposition.
Today Jack used a quote from a former Senate Chaplain – “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” (Rev Peter Marshall)
And, yesterday he used one from a civil rights icon –
“When you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, you have to say something, to do something.” (John Lewis)
Both men were championing the same message – do something, take action to right the wrongs that one sees.
Senate Republicans once tried to remove Reverend Marshall because they thought his prayers about making right the issues that he saw in America were too political. John Lewis was often attacked by the right for his relentless work to right the injustices of racism in America.
We see almost nightly on the news people who feel like they have the right to do as they please and the heck with the rest of us. They refuse to wear a face covering and pull guns on people who try to correct them. They loudly declare that all people of color are racists, looters and murderers. They see things that they know are not right, but they do nothing to stop it or correct it. They are free to do what is right, but they do not. Let’s not let their bad example rule the day. You are free to do something right.
Quite often, I’ve seen signs being carried in rallies or protests that proclaim “Freedom is not Free”. Those signs usually also show pictures of wounded soldiers who went to battel and fought to maintain our freedom. What they don’t state is that freedom also carries with it obligations; obligations that one must accept towards their fellow citizens. Those obligations to act responsibly and obey the laws of the land are there to insure the safety, peace and freedom of everyone. You are free to do something right.
We do not live in an anarchy. If we accept the fact that we live in an organized society, because there are benefits to us from that organization and structure; we must also accept that we must live within the rules of that society, in order to accrue those benefits. The structure and rules of our society impose costs upon us in the form of taxes or bills for goods and services that we enjoy. If one wished to live outside of that structure there are still places that one could go – just watch a few episodes of Alaska Bush People for an example. You are free to do something right.
So, we are free within the rules of our society. We are also free to do what is right, which both Marshall and Lewis pointed out. For many people, being free means free to do nothing (to stare at their shoes) when we see or experience an injustice. Whether out of fear or apathy, that seems to be the choice for too many in our society. It is more convenient for them to look the other way or to cross over and walk on the other side of the road (see Luke 10:25-37) than to stop and help or stop and do something to create change. You are free to do something right.
For some the thought is that “it doesn’t affect me, so why should I get involved?” The fact is that everything in any society affects all I that society is some way. Wrongs left un-righted fester and eventually boils over. Injustices rob the society of the potential good that could have been accomplished by the falsely accused. A lack of diversity within the business organizations and government structure of a society lead to a less vibrant, drab and colorless environment. You are free to do something right.
Right now, we are facing the threat of the Corona Virus as a society. Our medical experts and most government leaders have agreed that wearing a face covering when in public is, if one is able to do so, a good thing that will help slow the spread of the virus. Yet we still have people loudly proclaiming their right and freedom to ignore the needs of society and their fellow members. Take John Lewis’ advice and say something or do something when you see that. Remember that you have rights too – You are free to do something right.