The media is full of news about people using words to hurt. Trump haters and Trump supporters both vociferously attack one another. People are taken to court over using a word or phrase others don’t like. Political correctness is being imposed by those that want it. How is a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) supposed to respond to this?
Well, first of all, we need to realize that “freedom of speech” is not a Biblical concept. Not at all. Rather, we are told to:
- Don’t bear false witness (don’t lie about others; don’t repeat gossip; don’t disparage another’s reputation; don’t exaggerate when bearing witness to another’s failings). See Exodus 20:16.
- Don’t mention other gods. See Exodus 23:13.
- Don’t call anyone a fool. See Matthew 5:22 – spoken by Yeshua (Jesus).
- Encourage one another. See 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- Only talk in an edifying manner. See Colossians 4:6.
In this we can see that as people of God, we don’t have ‘freedom of speech.’ Rather, we are told to control our speech and words in all circumstances. In this way we show ourselves to be full of the Holy Spirit and to be written in His “Book of Life.”
This doesn’t mean that we can’t share opinions, if done correctly. Discussing differing opinions, be that in life, politics, or religion, sharpens our understanding and often shows us where we may be wrong.
It is when we ignore the above that things happen like what has happened in the last few weeks: tempers flaring and violence, such as: a teenager had his ‘pro Trump’ cap ripped off his head (and the perpetrator isn’t even charged with assault); another teenager is reprimanded for having a ‘pro Trump’ T-shirt on in school (not in violation of the dress code); a known charity personage has to resign because of a misunderstood comment about burkas. (By the way, I use these examples because they are fairly recent, not because I’m trying to make a political point.)
True freedom comes from walking in God’s ways, and His way is to use encouraging speech! And doing so also shows love to one another.
So, watch your tongue, and encourage one another in Messiah Yeshua!