Free speech - Hope 103.2

Free speech

By David ReayTuesday 3 Jan 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:10-12

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. (THE MESSAGE)

In its earliest days, the Christian church was a persecuted and misunderstood minority at the margins of society. Then it became enfolded into the political and social establishment for many centuries. More recently it is becoming pushed back to the margins again, losing its previously privileged position in society.

It is interesting to note that the early church, attacked and misunderstood as it was, turned the world upside down. It is also interesting that the closer the church grew to the political and social leadership the weaker it got. It seems God wants to remind us that fruitfulness doesn’t depend on aligning ourselves with political parties or passing certain legislation we favour. As always, real power comes from the Holy Spirit.

Christians today are attacked because of their views. This shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus predicted it. And darkness hates the light. Of course we can bring such attacks on ourselves. We may speak and act unwisely. We might appear to claim moral superiority. We might express selective moral outrage, picking on some sins and ignoring others. And there is always the backdrop of hypocrisy. The church dares to uphold sexual morality when it has tolerated sexual predators in its leadership.

This promise in our text is thus not a blanket endorsement of all we do or say. But when we do speak and act in a way consistent with the character of Jesus, we are assured of his commendation. Beware of inviting persecution. Beware also of running away from it.

David Reay