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Ukraine, Abolitionists, and a Call to Freedom

I believe that the citizens of the United States can learn much from the patriotism and freedom loving leaders of Ukraine. Their stories of courage and resolve amaze me. I cannot help but ask the question how would we react if the US were invaded by a Russia or a China. What if our lives stood in the risk of losing our freedoms? Most of us have never even asked the question. We have been so blessed and experienced freedom for so long, that I think perhaps we have come to believe that we are invincible. The past few weeks have been a wake up call for many of us. Our hearts have been twisted and tortured because as we watch this tragedy unfold in front of us, some of us have begun to ask these types of questions.

I cannot fathom an outside force invading our country, deploying bombs, targeting civilians, hospitals, and churches. What kind of evil must exist within a leader for such an invasion to be considered acceptable. It is difficult to recognize that some leaders do not care about the truth, making up their own narrative and spinning a web of lies in order to manipulate their people. I visited with a local pastor who relayed the story of a missionary in Ukraine whose mother lives in Russia. Recently in a phone conversation the missionary was sharing with her mother the horrors of the war that was happening all around her. Her mother, who only listens to Russian propaganda refused to believe her very own daughter over the news that she was hearing through the Russian government. She told her not to worry that the Russian takeover for Ukraine is in her best interest. I simply cannot imagine how difficult it would be knowing that the one woman in the world who should believe, trust, and want the very best for you believes a dictator's message over her missionary daughter's terrifying real life experience.

The Psalmist tells us "though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up!" Psalm 27:10. Hopefully this dear woman has this Scripture memorized and tied around the strings of her heart. Yet, imagine the shock it will be when one day the mother will come to the reality that her daughter was in great danger; and how will she feel if the war should take the lives of her daughter or one of her family members. The news on various channels has been reporting that Russian mothers are receiving their military sons back in body bags. Many young soldiers call home in tears, not realizing exactly what this mission is all about. How is it that one man can control and have this type of power over his own people as well as the audacity to think he can step in and invade a democratic country with it's own identity and constitution. It obviously bring back memories of World War II and the dictatorship of Hitler. For peoples of color who have experienced oppression and slavery, it brings back memories of evil, heartless slave holders who believe that they control other human beings. It is appalling to think that any human leader should have the power to coerce his or her people into submission to their will or whims.

Yet, we must never forget that rule by coercion never changes a heart. President Zellenskyy's charismatic leadership as a freedom fighter has promoted him to hero status while President Putin's evil coercive behavior has pegged him as an internationally, hated villian. The dogged determination and resolve of the Ukrainians is admired and praised in light of the terror and brutal war they face. They are proud of their history and will sacrifice whatever it takes to preserve the freedom of their people.

One of the current threats Americans face is the challenge of left leaning, progressive leaders to destroy the history of slavery and oppression in our country two hundred years ago. Yet, if we attempt to cancel the culture of our history, we will forget those who gave so valiantly, so sacrificially out of their free will, so that we could celebrate freedom, faith, and family! We will forget the mistakes we have made as well as the strides towards freedom and equity that we have gained. Erasing the past can only lead us down a path of repeating coercion and manipulation.

Today, we can see from the valor and sacrifice of the Ukrainians, that preserving history and freedom is a value for which they are willing to die. As we pray and support their efforts, I hope we will take their terrifying experience to heart. What are we willing to do to preserve our freedoms? How can we build a bridge in our country that is divided by ideologues. It is opposing ideologies and the will of force that have led to the Russian invasion on Ukraine. Unfortunately, it is obvious today that the United States is also deeply divided by divergent ideologies. How can we avoid a second Civil War? The first one took from us 620,000 lives of brothers and friends who served on opposite sides.

One truth remains to stand the test of time. The only true, lasting result of coercion is slavery. Even our Heavenly Father refuses to coerce us into alignment with Him. He gives us the freedom to choose our path, whether it is good or evil. He gives us the choice to be in relationship with Him or not. Yet, it is the sacrifice and love that He gave to each of us, as He sent His Son to die on a cross and to forgive us of our sins, that leads us to true freedom. The only lasting path that we can choose is the path of love.

Freedom requires the conviction of people of faith to live out their faith and to live in love. We are called to be an example living a life of conviction and service if we hope to

build a bridge across the ideological divide the US faces in 2022.

I have created the Underground YouTube Channel sharing seven steps of Good Trouble that 19th century Quaker abolitionist Laura Haviland and others like her lived out in order to survive the era of proslavery and reverse the laws of the land, freeing slaves.

If you would like to learn more about these seven steps of Good Trouble and the good work of 19th abolitionists, please subscribe to my Underground YouTube Channel. If we choose not to live out Good Trouble, we are choosing to live a life of slavery by default. Is that what we want for our country? We can make a difference! May God bless the USA and the country of Ukraine!

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