You might be a Nehemiah if...
“Liberty once lost is lost forever.” President Adams's words repeatedly came to mind when reading the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. You may have seen it on a Moms for Liberty t-shirt. The quote was from a letter to Abigail Adams, written 22 years before John Adams became the second President of the United States. He was responding to Abigail’s news of the distress and destruction that surrounded her in 1775. Adams’s words seemed connected somehow to Nehemiah’s reaction when he received similar news from his brother:
“Your Description of the Distresses of the worthy Inhabitants of Boston, and the other Sea Port Towns, is enough to melt a Heart of stone. Our Consolation must be this, my dear, that Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
The distresses Abigail described in her previous letters were numerous but one sentence stands out among them all, “Why should not his countenance be sad when the city, the place of his Fathers Sepulchers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire, scarcely one stone remaineth upon another.” Our Founding Fathers were working tirelessly and fighting for independence. Their circumstances were so similar to Nehemiah’s that Abigail used his words without quotation in reference to her father and the destruction of Charlestown, as though Nehemiah’s words were pouring straight from her own heart.
“Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Neh 2:3, ESV).
In Nehemiah’s day, there was a remnant in the province of Jerusalem who was in great distress and reproach. The burden Nehemiah carried for his people brought him to tears. The temple had been rebuilt but the walls around Jerusalem were decimated. Are you mourning the circumstances around you today? You're not alone.
Nehemiah instinctively knew that, should the Jews succumb to their vulnerabilities and forsake their “Constitution of Government,” their liberty would be lost forever. Nehemiah knew he needed to step out of his cushy cup-bearer comfort zone to do some hard and dangerous work. He also knew he was not alone.“Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach...The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build” (Neh 2:17,20). Sanballat and Tobiah were livid.
Moms for Liberty instinctively knows that, should parents succumb to the pressures of government interference and forsake their fundamental right to raise their own children, liberty will be lost forever. Moms for Liberty members know they need to step out of their cushy non-confrontational comfort zones to do some hard, and sometimes dangerous, work. Come, let us reclaim parental rights so that schools can no longer keep secrets from parents. Let the haters be mad.
Jerusalem probably looked like a hopeless dumpster fire to some. The exiles were wide open for attack and hanging on by a thread. But even in its broken state, Jerusalem was a tangible beacon of hope, a hope that God still had some liberty set aside for His people.
Many people see public education as a dumpster fire and wonder if it’s even worth saving. How many teachers and students do you know who are stuck in that fire? How many teachers and students are wide open to the attack of misguided policies and hanging on by a thread today? Like our Founding Fathers, Moms for Liberty sees America as the last beacon of hope for freedom, proof that liberty has not yet been lost. What hope do we have on the world stage when two-thirds of American students cannot read on grade level?
When Sanballat and Tobiah heard that the walls were being rebuilt, they angrily mocked the Jews and belittled their work (Neh 4:1-3). I’d imagine our Founding Fathers were mocked and belittled as well when they were establishing boundaries and independence. Does this sound relatable to you? Are you mocked and belittled as you work to rebuild healthy boundaries between your children and the government? Make no mistake. All that noise is just a distraction to knock you off course.
Sanballat and Tobiah sent repeated invitations to Nehemiah, trying to distract him from his work. Are you getting constant notifications from social media trolls? Don't get bogged down in their weeds. You don’t owe them a second of your thought or your time. Let it all roll right off your back and straight to the feet of Jesus EVERY day.
Unfortunately, some trolls take it to the next level. Stay laser-focused like Nehemiah, carrying your tools in one hand and your weapon in the other (Neh 4:17). I’d imagine the Black Robe Regiment could relate during the Revolutionary War, their bibles in one hand and rifles in the other. Yes, walls AND weapons are biblical but the best weapon we can ever hope to carry is the Sword of Truth! We also have something Nehemiah didn’t have, assuming we remember to put it on. The full Armor of God helps us to stand our ground and withstand the attacks of the enemies (Eph 6:10-18).
If mockery and ridicule don’t discourage you from your mission, be prepared for the enemy to try to create “disturbances.” Sanballat and his groupies sent a letter of false accusations. Nehemiah responded just to say that no such things occurred as the accusations were “invented in their own mind” (Neh 6:8). Again, all of this was to try to frighten and discourage Nehemiah from the work he was doing.
Does this seem relevant to you today? No doubt some trolls will get their undies in a bunch and Holler, saying Bible + guns = Christian Nationalist. If so, they've invented this disturbance in their own minds. They fail to understand that Christianity demands the freedom to choose it. Use of force for conversion is antithetical to the Bible and anti-American. They can't stand that the traditional American values we all benefit from, i.e. inalienable rights, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms, etc., are clearly traceable to a Biblical foundation. Even still, Moms for Liberty doesn't require members to ascribe to any particular religion or political party. Parental rights are universal. I'm just one member who stumbles across biblical parallels that might bring clarity to what many of us are facing today.
So many politically weaponized labels invented in the minds of those who oppose parental rights, no time to address them all.
When disturbances didn’t work, Sanballat hired Shemaiah to get in Nehemiah’s head and persuade him into doing something he would regret. They wanted to manufacture an “evil report” worthy of giving to the king (Neh 6:13). Judge your company carefully by their words and their fruits. Don’t be distracted from the mission by someone who seems nice. Maybe you've already experienced this and your fallibility betrayed you. Maybe the fallout was a million times worse because you also happen to be affiliated with Moms for Liberty. Maybe that was the point all along. Welcome to humanity. I FORGIVE YOU! Now forgive yourself and those who misled you. We have work to do.
Similar oppositional interferance occurred when Ezra was trying to rebuild the temple. History may not always repeat itself but it definitely rhymes. Let it be a sign that you are a part of something much bigger than you.
Are social activists angry at your success? Are they trying to cause a disturbance in your camp? As they say, “the only ones getting upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.” Let it be a sign that you’re getting the job done! Stay on mission. They’ll lose their confidence once the job is finished (Neh 6:16).
Joyful warrior, what is your consolation today? What is your why? Nehemiah says, "Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh 8:10). Maybe the joy of the Lord is why some of us are able to see past the destruction and continue to, "fight like hell with a smile on our face because our kids are watching."
If President Adams were around today, he might say, "Our Consolation must be this, that public education may be rebuilt, and a generation of learning loss may acquire fresh knowledge. But parental rights, once derailed, can never be restored."
Jeff Foxworthy might say something like this...
You might be a Nehemiah if you are saying “yes” to a greater purpose.
You might be a Nehemiah if you are creating cooperation among people in your community.
You might be a Nehemiah if you are putting forth a noble vision.
You might be a Nehemiah if you are implementing a pragmatic plan for Liberty.
You might be a Nehemiah if you are surrounded by social activists trying to defame, discourage, distract and disturb.
You might be a Nehemiah if you ignore them all and stay on mission.
“Moms for Liberty is dedicated to fighting for the SURVIVAL OF AMERICA by unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
Amanda Price, Chair
Moms for Liberty - Wilson County, TN