Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
We hear that phrase a lot in the United States. After all, it is the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This doesn’t mean we can say literally anything. I don’t have the freedom to yell “fire” or “bomb” in a crowded public space for fun. It is unlawful to threaten, be obscene, or commit fraud. It seems the lines are getting more blurry in this culture, but they’re there. I could go on a fairly long tangent about how liberals get more freedom of speech than conservatives. Not to mention social media’s sometimes double standards. But that’s not the purpose of this blog. It’s something else entirely.
For as often as we’ve heard “freedom of speech” being said, it’s no wonder I hear it often repeated in churches. This morning my pastor said a sentence casually that the Holy Spirit highlighted in my spirit.
There is no free speech in the Kingdom.
God’s kingdom does not promote free speech. You read that right.
We are not authorized to say whatever we want, whenever we want to.
James 3:6-8 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Matthew 12:36-37 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Deuteronomy 18:20, 22 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
Leviticus 19:11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.
1 Corinthians 10:10 Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Those are just a few verses on this. The Word of God doesn’t allow me to lie or give false witness, gossip, threaten, speak a false gospel, give false prophecies, be vulgar, crude etc. Even to complain. I don’t have the scriptural authorization to say cruel words because I’m angry or offended. I don’t have the authorization to interrupt someone. If I want to be a Titus 2, Proverbs 31 woman I need to be a good steward of my words.
This weekend I attended a women’s event at church. One lady said she felt convicted by God to fast words.
In this day and age everyone gets a social media platform to speak. What we speak and when we speak is so crucial to spiritual maturity and being a good witness.
I am a direct communicator but pretty gentle. But I had to grow into this. Me firsthand experiencing the sting of harsh or sinful words changed me.
Today, I want to challenge those who have been thinking about free speech. It’s sad that truth in this society is considered hate speech. However, realize that being able to say whatever, whenever is not in scripture.
Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words. -usually credited to St. Francis of Assisi
Let your life preach the Gospel. Be a good steward of your words and reap a harvest of blessing.
Father, help us to speak Your truth and words that build up, heal, and give hope to others. May we listen more than we speak and choose to hear for understanding , not just for responding. We praise Your holy name.