“Freedom” of Speech

25 May

So you don’t have to do a lot of web-surfing to find a lot of very… uh… “opinionated” sites out there. I’ve gone to a couple of links in the past because I found the topic intriguing, and was consequently barraged by some of the most blatantly slanderous writings I think I’ve ever read. I find it interesting that in our society, which places so much value on being polite and P.C., people will go online and say whatever angry, disrespectiful stuff may pop into their head.

I also find it interesting to see how the aforementioned people tend to react to complaints about the tone of their articles or blog posts. It’s all about freedom of speech. This is America, and so we get to say whatever we want. Nobody can stop us.  It’s my inalienable right to be able to shoot off my mouth as often as I like.

Constitutionally, I guess that’s technically true. But I’m being more and more struck by the fact that people who place such stock in freedom of speech …well, don’t really have it.

James had a lot to say about the power of speech. “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (Jas 3:5-6).

So when we “freely” sin with our words (spoken or written), we are “freely” volunteering to defile our whole body, setting our course of nature ablaze with demonic fire. By our free choice, we subject ourselves to bondage and torment. Yet all the while we congratulate ourselves on our freedom, as if our unbridled tongue was not actually killing our spirit.

Hooray for freedom.

To clarify, I greatly appreciate that we live in a society where it is okay to speak our minds. I’m not advocating that such liberty should be taken away. However, I think there are some definite “freedoms” we are better off to forego. So many times we proudly boast of our freedom of speech where, if we were to listen to wisdom, we should opt for the right to remain silent.

I think I’m going with the apostle Paul on this one. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1Cor 6:12). It’s worth relinquishing a couple of rights in order to attain to true freedom.

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Posted by on May 25, 2007 in Bible, James


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