William V. Beasley
Boca Raton, Florida
All too often we take for granted the wonderful blessings that God showers upon us. One such blessing is that of Religious Freedom, the right to worship God without fear of men. In many countries this freedom (as we know it in the United States) is nonexistent. For most of us in the United States it is a fact of life, purchased by the shed blood of others, that we seldom think about and little appreciate. That is, we do not think about it nor appreciate it until we see those who have not this freedom.
There are those, even in our own land of the free, who do not enjoy Religious Freedom. No! It is not that the government has eaten away at this freedom, but, in many cases, it is our loved ones who would deny us our heritage.
Recently we were called upon to talk with a very intelligent young lady with an unusual, and very perplexing, problem. After much teaching (by two teenage Christians) and after much personal study she wanted to leave denominational error and he just a Christian. Her problem? Both mother and father were extremely opposed to their daughter leaving "our church." The problem was further complicated by her fattier having a serious heart condition. Previous strokes had almost been fatal, and he had been warned to avoid excitement (anger) lest it bring on another, perhaps this time fatal, stroke.
With all of this playing upon her young mind she decided to go ahead and obey the Savior. She loved the Lord more than she loved her father or her mother. Before we could leave to go to the Atlantic Ocean (our baptistery) her mother telephoned and ordered her home immediately. No longer was she to be permitted to attend the services of the Lord's church, nor to visit the home of her two Christian friends. At sixteen years old her religious freedom had been taken from her. Two weeks later she was baptized into Christ, not by me, by the seventeen year old boy who had taught her the gospel plan of salvation. This was accomplished by going to the beach for a "swim."
Her parents have expressed a belief in Religious Freedom, but, evidently, it does not extend to their own daughter. At present they do not know that their daughter is a Christian, a child of God. Nor do they know of the great courage she has had to display so young. Neither do they fully realize the great love she has for them, and the even greater love she has for the Son of God.
I what will be the final outcome? We cannot know. We pray that she will be able to remain faithful in the face of such opposition, and, just as earnestly, we pray that we might be able to touch the hearts of her parents that they might be an encouragement and not a hindrance to their daughter.
Lessons To Be Learned
First, let us learn not to take the blessings of God for granted. They could, and may, be taken away from us.
Second, let us learn that we are never too young to teach others the truth. Oft times teenagers can reach other teens when all adults would fail. It has happened!
Third, as parents, let us learn that our children must be given their religious freedom. We must teach, strengthen, and encourage them that they might make the right decision, but that decision MUST be theirs. Worship of and service to God must be freely given. We cannot drive others, not even our own children, to' an acceptance of the truth.
Fourth, let us learn to have the courage of our faith-like this babe in Christ.
Fifth, let us marvel at the truth of God's word. "Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:34-37).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 41, pp. 4-5