One of the things that makes America so great is the ability to express yourself — much to the joy, and even pain, of those around you. The freedom of speech is a two-edged sword and more often than not the one who wields it doesn’t fully grasp the power behind it.
Sadly there is no better example of poor usage of this freedom than when directed at the political arena. While late night talk show hosts have always taken shots at the president, now on social media everyone has their two cents to share. Truth is, many people would do well to learn the value of biting their tongue.
While I find great joy in the liberty found within the freedom of speech, as an American right and a human right, I’ve come to realize that it’s not a Christian’s right.
Scripture tells us that our words have within them the power of life and death. Just because the government says we can verbally murder someone doesn’t mean it’s the best way for believers to express themselves. After all, we’re called to make a difference. We’re called to be a light in the darkness, to rise above the fray, to be a witness of how kingdom ethics are conducted.
Of course I realize we’re all just people, and none of us is truly holy. But we’ve been challenged by our maker to make every attempt to be perfect as God is perfect. Jesus could have trashed the Roman officials all day long, but he didn’t.
Growing up, I always heard, "Don’t talk politics or religion." The older I get, the truer that statement is. People don’t want to talk about religion because they don’t care — until they know how much you truly care for them. People don’t talk politics because it’s near-impossible to have a civil discussion. You either agree with them or you’re an idiot, and you’re the reason why so-and-so was elected.
The funny thing is that while we bask in the liberty that freedom of speech gives us, Christians have a tendency to say things that are very anti-Christ in nature. If your speech represents the type of Christianity you believe in, than I’m afraid we are of different tribes.
Unfortunately, some Christians are fond of saying things like “we’re under grace,” and use that as an excuse to speak vile drivel. I can’t help but disagree with that thought process. If the government gave you the right to murder without consequence would you? Or would you cling to the Lord’s command of not killing? By abusing your American right of free speech you are ending life, despite the many clear examples throughout Scripture charging us to maintain control of our mouth.
While the Constitution of the United States gave us the right to speak our mind, I can’t help but think that our Lord is the one who gave us the right to remain silent. So choose life — when you're tempted to verbally murder someone, remain silent.
Jason Hess, CJ is a husband, father, ordained minister with Next Leadership Association, and a third order Franciscan. Additionally, he is in the very early stages of planting a church through Anchor Mission USA. You can find more of his writings at his blog – http://www.ecksermonator.com.