How Ought Christians to Use Free Speech? - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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October 19, 2016

How Ought Christians to Use Free Speech?

It's Free Speech Week! Free speech is not being treated like the privilege it really is. Our forefathers knew free speech was important because of the role that it played in the American Revolution. They fought and died for the right to be able to say what they wanted, even if the King of England didn’t agree. It was crucial for our forefathers to send their ideas out to the general public in order to inform, persuade, and even ask them for their help.

But today, we use free speech as an excuse to damage our fellow human beings. Christians especially know what it’s like to say something or give an opinion in the public sphere only to have it ridiculed and dismissed simply because of our beliefs. This is very frustrating and demeaning to have our thoughts stomped on and downtrodden. Sometimes we feel the need to retaliate and get back at whoever has spoken wrongly against us. We want to burn them with a slick, one-liner that will shake the offender to the core. This, however, is not the answer. Just because we have the freedom to say what we want, doesn’t mean we should abuse that power. The more we do this, the more worthless and pointless words become.

Words are so powerful and we take for granted having the freedom to say anything. Spewing our words out all over the computer keys thoughtlessly is not the answer. Some people claim not to have filters when it comes to their words and say the first thing that comes to mind, but is this right? We need to speak our precious, valuable words in love to one another. Deep thought is always required.

Instead of voicing that snide, cutting response to someone on social media, save those words and put them to better use by building up your neighbor.

Speaking in love can do so much good in someone’s life, why waste that wonderful power? Just think of the smile on someone’s face after you give them a compliment or kindly greet them. The words from your mouth are able to make a brighter day for someone. That is an incredible talent God has given us! This is a power too great to be thrown away carelessly.

In addition to using our words correctly, Christians need to let the truth be heard. This means standing up for what you believe in and using your words to speak truth. Christians are called to not be ashamed of the gospel, so we need to speak out for what is right without fear of ridicule. Romans 1:16 exemplifies this when Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

-Jocelyn Englehart ‘18