36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ 38-39 This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ 40 All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”
Has our Constitutional liberties led us to the point of forsaking Almighty God in order to serve the god ‘Selfie’? Men and women have fought and died for the freedom we cherish here in the United States. Those same freedoms may have led us to a sense of personal self-importance. Have we become a selfish nation highly concerned with our rights while dismissing the responsibilities?
The court has ruled that one person’s right to ‘privacy’ negates another’s right to life – the first and most basic freedom. It has ruled that an individual’s ‘right’ to be served trumps a business owner’s religious liberty. Individuals may have the ‘right’ to be included in a private association – even if his beliefs are contrary to the principles of the group. Our government takes citizens’ income and uses it to fund interests and activities that advance their own political careers, in spite of what’s best for the country. As a result, individuals cheat on their taxes in order t to keep more of the money they feel they have the right to keep for themselves. Parents destroy their families in order to find personal happiness, or personal fulfillment with someone else. Children no longer find it necessary to ‘honor’ their fathers and mothers. Instead, some believe their parents owe them the honor.
Many of us can quote President Kennedy’s instruction, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’ But how many of us know how John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961 begins? It is well worth reviewing. He reminds us that our forebears fought for the revolutionary belief that our rights come from God and not from the generosity of the state. It would serve our country well to remember this.
When we focus only on the ‘rights’ of the individual – and not on the responsibility, life becomes all about ‘Me.’ Though we are still the most generous nation on earth, we are rapidly becoming a nation of takers. Are we only concerned with the lives of others to the degree that it effects our own? Or do we really care about others?
America is not a theocracy. However, the principles of Matthew 22: 36-40 do make for good public policy. As Christians, we are to be imitators of Jesus Christ. In obedience to His Father and out of His love for us, He gave up his divine right for our salvation.