On Monday, we celebrated Veterans Day, honoring those brave men and women who have served or are now serving in the United States Armed Forces. These patriots protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the freedoms it gives.

In America, we have the right to free speech. We have the religious freedom to attend whatever church we want or to not attend at all. We have the right to bear arms and to vote or not. We can choose to marry, or not. These choices are freely ours because of these brave members of the military.

As blessed as we are in America to have these freedoms, there is a much greater freedom available to anyone who wants it, whether an American or not. It is the free gift of salvation, the freedom from sin. Brave veterans are willing to die for their country. But long ago, our Lord freely gave His life to give us the ultimate freedom … the freedom to live for Him.

Whether you are a believer or not, most everyone is familiar with the old hymn “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton. Written in the 1700s, this hymn by a former slave trader is still powerful today.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now am found;

‘Twas blind but now I see.

These profound words speak of the freedom we have in Christ because of God’s amazing grace.

But this freedom comes with a call to arms.

We are not to use our freedom for our own selfish desires but to share that freedom with those we meet.

We are soldiers in a battle against sin, and our weapon is love. We find that battle cry in Galatians 5:13-14:

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

I am so grateful for our veterans for the sacrifices they make for my freedom. But I am even more grateful for my Lord for the sacrifice He made for my freedom from sin — a freedom that calls me to serve Him in love.

Susan Rodgers is a major with The Salvation Army in Florence.

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