In a day when the freedom of speech is flaunted as an excuse to say whatever we like, we should remember that what we say also affects how others see us.
As Christians, we show our faith through our actions in how we treat those around us. These actions do not have to be physical; they can be the words we say to or about another person. Even if you are not a Christian, your words still show people the content of your character.
These actions and words can either reflect positively on how others view God, or they can cause others to view Him poorly because they see the negative ways in which believers have acted toward them.
Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
When you say something, those words will reflect what is in your heart.
As Americans, we have the right to freedom of speech as outlined in the First Amendment. This freedom allows us to state what we think without the government telling us what we can or cannot say.
This allows us to speak out against the government if we feel the need to. It also makes sure that we continue to have the freedom to speak about what we believe. We are able to attend a Lutheran university because we are able to freely express these beliefs.
Across the United States, college campuses have to face the issue of free speech and how it applies to students who come from a variety of backgrounds.
Some campuses designate certain areas or even their whole campus as “free-speech zones” where people are allowed to say whatever they want without fear of retaliation from other students or the college’s administration.
Outside of these zones, however, students speaking freely about their religious or moral views have sometimes been targeted as not being tolerant of people who hold different views.
In an article about free speech on college campuses, The Washington Post polled 3,000 students to gauge their views on their First Amendment right to free speech.
The poll found that: “(College students) generally endorse the ideals of free speech and campuses that encourage the discussion of a variety of ideas. But once that speech begins to infringe on their values, they’re likely to support policies that place limits on speech. Those include free-speech zones, speech codes and prohibitions on hate speech.”
Here at Concordia, we are free to talk about our beliefs, religious or otherwise. We are not told that we have to be Lutheran or even Christian to come here for college. We are not expected to hold certain political views in order to be accepted on campus.
We are free to say what we think, even if not everyone on campus agrees with it.
But above all, we must remember that the words we say will leave an impression on others and will affect how they see us and God’s impact on our lives.