Independence and Responsibility

"Independence" means different things to different people at various times. Every year, on July 4, the word inevitably turns the thought of millions of Americans to consider the wonders of the birth of a new nation. On July 14, millions of French people remember the determined bid for freedom made in 1789, 13 years and 10 days after America's independence, when their ancestors stormed the Bastille. These events were vitally significant to the whole world as well as to citizens of the countries involved.

But the independence that comes in other more private ways is as important and is as deeply cherished by individuals. To some it may mean a car and a license to drive it. To others, the ability to walk without help after a long illness, or liberation from an enslaving habit. To still others, a well-earned paycheck after a period of unemployment, or the freedom to think, speak, act, or worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.

People have fought for freedom, and given their lives for it, all through the ages. Mortals have often found it hard to attain, yet the Apostle Paul referred to "the glorious liberty of the children of God" Rom. 8:21; and followed the example of Christ Jesus by freeing himself and others not only from prison walls and chains but from disease, dangers, and even death.

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Cherishing Our Children
July 4, 1977

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