Romans 5:3-5 ESV
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Freedom of Speech
A lot of people are pushing for freedom of speech, but is that all good? Yes, it is wonderful to have the freedom to share our beliefs, but if we actually got total freedom of speech in our nations, do you know what that might look like? I mean, freedom of speech is the right to express ANY opinions without censorship or restraint. Is that really what we want?
What if everyone could say whatever they wanted whenever or wherever they wanted with no restraint at all, with no rules whatsoever governing what they say? All hell could break loose! We would have to isolate ourselves and our children from all outside influences in order to protect our eyes and ears and their eyes and ears from seeing and hearing the utter filth of the world. And people could say to us whatever they wanted with no restraint.
Right now, as far as I can tell, most social media sites or blogging sites or other discussion sites, where people can express their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs on various subjects, have rules of etiquette and propriety and respect. Most appear to have reasonable guidelines in order to avoid an absolute free-for-all and utter chaos, and some sites will allow you to set your own guidelines as far as what you want to or don’t want to see or hear.
But what if we all had total freedom of speech with no restraint and no censorship (no controls, no rules, no guidelines)? You see, I think sometimes we don’t always think these things all the way through. For, it is a lot like those who are pushing for prayer to be back in schools, but what about those not of the Christian faith? Are we to force our beliefs on them? No! And do we want them to force their beliefs on us? No!
What would then keep the schools from allowing any religion to force their beliefs on the students? Would you want Satanists to have the right to force your children to pray to Satan? We have to not be so quick to “jump on the bandwagon” of a lot of these things that sound good, in theory, but that could open up a whole world of evil we don’t want, in practice.
So, just saying that if we have total freedom of speech, which sounds like a good thing, with no restraints or censorship at all, then it could backfire on us, and we could end up with what we don’t want at all. For a society to operate properly, there has to be rules, but the rules should be general rules of decency and respect and not be rules that force us to have to watch, read, and/or listen to what we object to in our own consciences.
So, freedom of speech, even though it sounds good, could be a door wide open into increased public persecution of Christians or any group of people whose beliefs or opinions differ from theirs. Freedom of speech, thus, could actually increase our suffering, as people would then have the freedom to say to us whatever they wanted, without restraint, and there would be no rules and/or moderators to stop them from doing so.
Suffering for Our Good
But then here is another aspect of this. The Scriptures teach us that suffering is for our good. And actually, when the church is under persecution, historically that has actually been a good thing for their spiritual growth and for the advancement of the gospel and for the salvation of human lives. For when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, it motivates us to draw closer to our Lord and to listen to and to obey him and to want to share the gospel with others because we know that time is short.
So, although being persecuted for righteousness’ sake is painful, having too much freedom with no persecution at all can lead us to spiritual apathy and laziness and to being lukewarm in our Christian faith and practice. So, if this “freedom of speech” actually increases our persecution, it might actually be a blessing in disguise for the American churches who have largely gone the way of the world and who are not being the light of the world and the salt of the earth that God called them to be.
We know that the Scriptures teach that we who follow Jesus Christ with our lives will be persecuted, and those of us who are following the Lord with wholehearted devotion are being persecuted, to some extent here in America. But overall the American church has not had to suffer the kind of persecution for their faith that the church has had to suffer in many other nations throughout the world, but that will change, most certainly.
If we are paying attention, we can see where things are moving, and they are not moving in the direction of what is good, but what is evil, and so we know that Christians will soon, or in the near future, begin to experience increased persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ here in America. It is inevitable, because it has been moving that direction for some time, and because the Scriptures teach that persecution will increase in these last days, and this increased “freedom of speech” could be one of the avenues.
But, again, when this happens, we have to remember that this is for our good, and we need to let the Lord Jesus do in our lives what he wants to do in our lives through this persecution. In fact, we are to rejoice in our persecution and in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and character and true hope. And many who are living now in spiritual adultery or apathy right now will be revived in their walks of faith.
And we need to see this persecution, as well, as God’s love being poured out on us because discipline is for our good to grow us and to mature us in our walks of faith and so that we will be on fire for the Lord, and so we will be sharing the truth of the gospel with the people of the world for their salvation. So, when persecution increases, yield your lives over to the Lord and let the Lord do his work in your hearts and lives he wants to do for his glory and for your spiritual maturity, and walk by faith and not by sight.
[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Jn 15:1-11]
An Original Work / August 15, 2012
Based off Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be of courage;
Be strong and take heart today.
Do not fear when foes attack you.
Trust in God always.
He will rescue you in times
Of trouble and distress,
He’ll comfort you in all ways
As you trust Him with your life today.
Trust in Him always.
God is with you; He’ll not leave you.
You can always count on Him.
He will fulfill all He promised
Before you began.
His word teaches you
All that you need for this life.
Let Him lead you. Open your heart;
Let his truth envelope you today.
Listen and obey.
Love your Lord God; follow Jesus.
Repent of your sins today.
Make Him your Lord and your master;
Trust Him and obey.
Follow Him where’er He leads you
In His service; be His witness,
Telling others about Jesus’
Price that He did pay
For your sins always.