Free to Say Anything We Want!?

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!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

Migrant Crisis in the USA

The migrant crisis has been dominating news media for many days now.  Everyone is hollering that children should not be separated from their parents, or locked up with their parents.  This ‘crisis’ brings many hot issues together, and this posting is too short to address more then one issue.  So, does the Bible give any guidance at all about the issue of separating children of illegal migrants from their parents? 

In answering this question, two scriptures (among others) are considered.  They are:

You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. Numbers 15:29 (ESV)

and

…But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by law as transgressors.  James 2:9 (ESV)

The discussion is in the forum (click here to see the discussion; click here to sign up).

Check out the discussion and give your opinion.  Mostly, think about how a follower of God and Yeshua (Jesus) should respond to this issue.

  • Yosef

Hypocrisy from Politicians and Media

There have been two events recently that I want to comment on.  Things such as this are happening more and more frequently.  I can’t comment on them all, and as this blog has just started, I have to start somewhere.  So here goes…

The ban of incoming Muslim immigrants has been likened to the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII.  Amazingly, some people and media are keeping the two separate, as they are separate issues.  The one is banning people from entering the USA.  The other is rounding up and interring people, citizens included, that already live in the USA.  (One of the problems here is that both occurred at the same time during WWII, so some people apparently can’t separate the two issues.)  To liken the one to the other is a deliberate flaming of emotions to get a response.  It is the exact type of thing targeted by these words from God,

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16 – ESV)

Whenever we deliberately twist facts to emphasize the point we want to make, it is the same as bearing false witness.  We need to watch our speech!

The other incident is in the backlash of where the Red Hen restaurant asked the White House press secretary to leave.  She was there with family members.

In the backlash a certain senator from California, a democrat, is calling for people to rise up and protest against them directly.  (Do note, however, that many other Democrats publicly disagreed with her).  Her call to protest is surprising as there are still many incidents of people being refused service for one reason or another, or people refusing to serve.  The incident of the baker refusing to make a special order wedding cake for a gay couple comes to mind.

Aside from the fact that the senator’s call for protest brings to my memory the ugly, and occasionally violent protests from Democrats against Republicans that were happening when President Trump was campaigning and shortly after he was elected, her call is screaming hypocrisy.  It is sad when such a leader in the congress and on the political stage makes such a comment.  It also brings up into light the whole question, again, as to when we, as citizens, can refuse to deal with particular people or groups based on our beliefs.  Courts have ruled several times that public companies must serve people irregardless of lifestyle.  Does this extend to ones political belief?  According to the California senator, not only does it not extend to one’s political belief, but violence is okay when going after those of the opposing political belief.

We are called to pray for, and obey, our Government.  We can protest – that is a right in this country.  But we need to be careful to not step over the line and not commit murder (which, when Yeshua (Jesus) explained, includes even calling one another names – see the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5 to 7), and not bear false witness.

Believers in this country need to repent on behalf of their country and pray for peace in our country.  More then that, we need to start paying attention to both the commandments, “do not bear false witness”, and Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5:22, “whoever insults his brother will be liable to judgement.”

  • Yosef

Truth! Does it exist anymore?

After this recent presidential election (President Trump) the news media is buzzing with the idea that we are now in a ‘post truth’ era.  Social media is making the idea of truth nebulous.   According to Stephan Lewandowsky (via BBC Future) of the University of Bristol, “There is a large proportion of the population in the US living in what we would regard as an alternative reality.  They share things with each other that are completely false.  Any attempt to break through these bubbles is fraught with difficulty…”

This attitude started several decades ago in the Christian church, and has spread throughout society.  Christianity, in the western cultures such as in the USA, decided that the Word of God was subject to individual interpretation and truth could be redefined.  Now we not only do not know what truth is, but there is opposition to the idea that there is a truth.

On the flip side, there is a movement within Christianity to return to God’s word, and a movement in society to figure out what is true (fact checking is becoming more known).

It is written that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Yeshua (called Jesus), is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His word is as true today as it has ever been, and it does not change.  We need to repent and return to God’s ways.  Turn from all the traditions and interpretations that have been built up around God’s words, obscuring and even nullifying His word.

God has said that we are neither to add to nor subtract from His word (Deuteronomy 4:2).  Judaism loves to add to His word.  Christianity loves to subtract from His word.  Repentance is needed.

-Yosef

 

The U.N. and Hanukkah

The U.N. passed a resolution recently condemning Israel and the settlements.  For the first time, the U.S.A. did not veto the resolution.  Here are a couple thoughts.

In the time of the Hanukkah story, there was a ‘peace for land’ deal.  (Read the history – fairly recent discoveries).  A king told the leader of the fledgling nation, “Give us land or there will be war.”  Land was given.  Did it work?  Of course not – that king shortly thereafter invaded.

Now the U.N. is saying, “give land or they can be no peace.”  Will it work?  What land is wanted?

It is said that Israel should go back to the 1967 boundaries.  Okay.  What happened in 1967 that the boundaries changed?  There was a war – the ‘6 day war.’  Israel’s neighbors, including countries such as Egypt and Syria, we planning on invading Israel, and were amassing troops and weapons.  Egypt even convinced the U.N. to pull out of the zone it was monitoring so that Egypt could invade.

So, the U.N. is saying to Israel, go back to the way things were where your neighbors were planning and executing invasions to wipe you out.  This is supposed to be reasonable?

-Yosef