I am hurt, outraged, horrified, distraught, bewildered, perplexed, offended, and disturbed. I prayed long and hard about whether or not I should even write this article. However, as first a Christian and secondly an American, I felt as if it were my duty to my God and to my country to express my concerns to you, my fellow student body. Ephesians 4:15 encourages us to go around speaking the truth in love. So, that is exactly what I am attempting to do.
Freedom of Speech?
Several weeks ago, I was eating dinner in the cafeteria with some friends, when the aforementioned plethora of emotions came over me. Why? you may ask. Well, I just happened to glance over and see a fellow student sporting a t-shirt that read, Mr. Bush (showed a picture of President George W. Bush) [Explicative] you and your father! I honestly was blown away, as were my friends with whom I was dining. I actually had to calm down one of my friends, so he wouldn’t confront this particular individual.
Instantly, a million thoughts and questions flooded my mind, namely, what does this mean for American society? Where is our respect? Our loyalty? Our dignity? Just because we are allowed free speech, how far can we take that before we are abusing our privilege? Is there a limit?
What the Bible Says:
God is our ultimate authority. What He says goes… end of story. However, He has also placed in our lives earthly authorities, such as parents, police officers, pastors, teachers, government officials, and the like, to help guide, direct, and protect us. These earthly authorities include our President: past, present, or future. Whether we like him or not, God has placed him in authority for a reason. We may not agree with his religion, background, philosophy, decisions, or even the color of his tie. Nevertheless, God has commanded us to obey him. Romans 13:1-2 says, “Every person is to be in subjection [under the control] to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” This is pretty black and white. God doesn’t make mistakes. He isn’t up in heaven saying, Whoops! I can’t believe I let them do that.
Wise, old Uncle Ben, in Spiderman, had a few words of advice for his nephew Peter, who was beginning to figure out his purpose in life. He commented, “You know Peter, with great power comes great responsibility.” Similarly, Jesus says in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
The Christian Response:
Because we have been allowed this amazing freedom of speech, a benefit too often taken for granted, we should always use it to bring glory and honor to Gods name as well as those He has appointed as our earthly leaders. Let me challenge you to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Words, as well as other forms of communication, are very powerful tools. It is imperative that we use them responsibly. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification [instruction] according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Every person is to be in subjection [under the control] to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.