Freedom of speech. Inalienable rights. We were taught that those were concrete concepts, but are they really? Are there really such things as the freedom to speak as we wish and rights that can’t be taken away? I wonder.
While I believe we can say and do whatever we choose, I also believe that those choices come with consequences. Consequences that may be so subtle as not to notice, or severe enough to cause us to question our decision to exercise those rights. There are always those who would try to stifle our rights and our speech because they don’t believe as we do or have other motives at heart, but the lengths they may go to so that we think twice about exercising our rights makes those rights not seem as free as we once thought.
In today’s world (at least in America), I still have the right to speak about my God. Some object, some turn a deaf ear, some agree, but if I then go on to speak about individual aspects of His will for us (homosexuality, abortion, moral basis, etc.), there is a huge number of people (hopefully not a majority yet) that will take offense…often to the point of retribution, persecution, insult and bodily harm. Not yet similar or to the extent of the persecution and harm that is faced in other parts of the world mind you, but those didn’t start over night either. By stating truth (not as I see it, truth is truth…period), I am instantly accosted by a vicious response by a very vocal, and sometimes physical, opposition. As a Christian I am told to be tolerant, but I’m being told by angry mobs screaming in my face with blood on their fists. I’m told to be understanding by those that won’t take a beat to listen to my point of view. I’m told to be forgiving by those that show no mercy in their pursuit of selfishness.
The inalienable rights to speech and religion come at a price. Yes, the ultimate price was paid by our savior, but our cost comes in our choice to follow Him regardless of cost to self, reputation, popularity, success or someday soon, our life. We must choose to either go along with the crowds, not make waves and be silent in order to avoid harsh interaction, false judgement, and untoward consequences or choose to speak where the bible speaks and stand where our Lord stands on issues that are fading in popularity and getting lost in a sea of vacant morality.
We often spend so much time trying not to rock the boat, attempting to hold our tongues and making efforts to live in peace with our fellow man that our tolerance can gradually transform into acceptance as we are surrounded by a society of ever decreasing morality slowly chipping away at our resolve to do and say what we know to be right.
Free means without cost. There is always a cost to stand for something you believe in. Inalienable means not able to be taken away. Are we letting our rights be taken away by the fear of retribution, judgement, condemnation, or injury? Only you can answer that; only you can know if you are willing to stand for what you believe in a world that is increasingly hostile to a common moral standard. Each of us needs to choose if we will exercise our freedoms to stand for God, for morality, for decency; or be coerced, frightened and beaten into submission, acquiescence, and acceptance of the new norm.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28
“You are the light of the world….let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16