My Freedom Ends Where Yours Begins

This year I had the honor and pleasure of hosting another Passover Seder. As sometimes happens, three of the guests in attendance do not accept that Yeshua is the Messiah (though they do believe in the promised Messiah).

Another of the guests sometimes takes things too far. This was her first time attending one of my Seders and she sat across from me. It was then I realized that she had a staff in her hand. I asked her if she wanted to place it against the wall to which she declined, keeping it with her for the entire meal.

Normally, I ask four gentlemen to read various parts of the liturgy. This year there were only three men attending, so I asked the gal with the staff to be the fourth reader. Within the first couple of sentences she used Adonai’s name instead of the circumlocution printed in the booklet.

As she did so, she looked at me and said, “I like to use His Name.”

My heart pained not only for the three special guests, but for any of us offended when someone uses God’s name. I don’t see Yeshua doing that. He was always so compassionate to meet people where they were at, then move them forward. (Unless he was dealing with a religious leader leading people astray.)

In response to this guest, I gave her a signal that this was not acceptable, and she complied. The evening went on, and everyone had a great time.

After the evening was over, I mulled over the celebration (as is my habit) making mental notes for improvement next year. I thought about the theme of the evening–freedom–then about the guest with the staff. She seemed more concerned with her own freedom to use God’s Name than any offense it may cause.

This is the challenge our country faces right now. We forget that our freedom ends where another’s begins.

Take the gun control issue: I have a right to bear arms for protection. I don’t have a right to use that gun against you for any reason other than preservation of life. My freedom to bear arms ends where your freedom to live begins.

With freedom comes responsibility for consequences. My freedom to own a firearm comes with the responsibility to use it for the purposes intended – whether that’s for target practice, hunting, self-defense, or part of a collection.

If I don’t act responsibly, if I misuse that freedom, if I infringe on your freedom, there are consequences.

Another example is the freedom to have all the sex you want with whoever you want. But if you don’t act responsibly, there are consequences–consequences for you or your sexual partners (if you contract a disease), or the death of an unborn child (should you or your partner become pregnant and opt for abortion). Your freedom to have sex should not negate the child’s freedom and unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yet in today’s society, we seek to remove consequences and freedoms rather than teach responsibility and accountability.

On this Memorial Day, as we remember those who died to set us free from tyranny, let’s not give in to a different tyranny–a political one that seeks to remove freedoms. Instead let’s honor our fallen heroes by acting responsibly and helping others to do the same.

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