Many of the political and cultural discussions these days throw around words like Freedom, Liberty, and Success. Most of the references to these words seem to espouse an “anything goes” philosophy. Anything anyone wants to do should be legal, supported, and even celebrated because this is a free society!
The greatest goal should be personal fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. Consideration of what’s right or responsibility are a distant second place in consideration.
…at least that’s the way it usually comes across.
Bob Dylan once said:
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
While that sounds good… a 40-year old living in his parents basement playing video games all day could fit that definition. However, he’s probably not thought of as a success by most people.
Pursuing your dreams in your job search and career sounds great, and maybe even enlightened… unless pursuing your dreams means you can’t meet your obligations and your family suffers for it.
Pope John Paul II once said:
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
Similarly, Lord Acton said:
”Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.”
A society, a family, a company, a church, a charity, or any other organization can not function if everyone simply does what they like.
Zig Ziglar has repeatedly said:
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Ironically, when our focus is primarily on our rights, freedoms or liberties, we rarely really get what we really want. When we focus on serving others, doing what’s right, taking responsibility even when we don’t feel like it, we more often than not, get what we want in the process.
Working sacrificially, with our focus on others, doing the things we know we OUGHT to do rather than only on the things we want to do, and doing those things that enhance rather than tear down successful societal structures produces the most successful marriages, families, careers, businesses, and cultures.
Freedom and liberty to do things like:
- Practice your faith
- Control of your children’s upbringing and education
- Pursue your career or your own business
- and many others
…without a government making decisions for you or smothering you with regulations or prohibitions. This is the founding principal of the United States, and an exceptionally rare concept in the rest of the world. Even most countries thought of as “free” don’t allow the freedoms we often take for granted here.
Many “free” countries do not have true Freedom of Speech, Freedom to do commerce, Freedom to move about, and many other liberties we don’t even think about each day.
Freedom and Liberty are exceptional concepts, whose practical definitions are often twisted and abused.
What are the things YOU ought to do? Take advantage of the freedoms you have, contribute, and DO what you know you OUGHT to do!
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