More and more we are hearing a singular phrase tossed around in the news and in the culture at large:
We would agree that any talk that vilifies another person, screams hate-filled racial slurs, or seeks the death or demise of someone else could be classed as hate speech. I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, but I am also a firm believer in Jesus Christ—and His Word tells us:
“No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
While hate speech is decidedly wrong, the definition of hate speech is being broadened to include … well, anything you say that someone doesn’t like. The popular stance these days is to embrace a victim mentality (which in some ways, trivializes the circumstances of those who are truly victims). With that victim mentality comes the notion that anything you say that goes against me—the victim—and my opinions and beliefs is nothing less than hate speech.
- John Sherwood was arrested in London for publicly preaching from Genesis 1 on the biblical view of marriage. Complaints were voiced because his stance went against those who support same-sex marriage and parents of the same gender.
- A Christian member of Finland’s Parliament is facing six years in prison for sharing publicly her views on biblical marriage and sexual identity. For example, in one tweet, she simply cited Romans 1:24-27:
“Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. For this reason God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.”
Quoting the Bible is becoming hate speech.
The culture’s motto seems to be: IF YOUR OPINION IS DIFFERENT THAN MINE, YOU’RE A BIGOT AND WHAT YOU SAY IS NOTHING LESS THAN HATE SPEECH.
Let me offer a different take on the matter. I’m sorry if quoting and speaking from the Bible offends you, but I don’t do it out of hate, but love. Here’s why I can say that:
Sin keeps us from a relationship with God. He is a holy God and will have nothing to do with sin. Yet He also loves us and seeks to restore us to eternal life and a relationship with Him. That’s the whole reason Christ came to earth. He died, taking our sin on Himself; dying so that we wouldn’t have to. When we come to Him, He forgives our sin and restores us to a new life.
What’s hateful about that??!
Ah, here’s where the perceived hate comes in. To embrace the abundant life in Christ means we must turn from our sin—and to turn from our sin, we must acknowledge that what we do is wrong. And that doesn’t fly in our current culture. “Don’t ask me to change; if you can’t accept me just as I am, endorsing and celebrating my behavior, then you must hate me.”
The most loving thing I can do for anyone is to introduce them to Christ. I want them to find the joy, serenity, and contentment that comes in following Him. But to hold on to Christ means to let go of sin. And to let go of the sin, a person must acknowledge the sin.
Don’t hear me proclaiming these truths from some self-righteous, I’m-better-than-you stance. My life has been full of sin, but I found something far greater and more freeing than living for myself. I found something in the love of God and love moves me to share that love with you. I just want you to know my Jesus.
“But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
“For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
If I point out your sin, it’s because of love. If I point out that you are eternally lost because of that sin, it’s because of love. Where’s the love in that? The love comes in pointing to the solution to your greatest need. Christ died for you. He offers freedom, forgiveness, peace, hope, salvation, eternity. He offers you the greatest gift of all through Himself.
And there’s nothing hateful about that.
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