Season: 5 Episode: 063
What happens when censorship hits Christians? Free speech in America is threatened but does that mean you won’t proclaim the name of Jesus or share the hard truth of the gospel? God has something to say about this in His word and Shanda tackles the hard truth about speaking up in today’s episode.
“Confidence to step into the conversation happens when you acquire knowledge.”
“If we are unwilling to speak truth when it costs nothing, we will be unable to speak truth when it costs something.”
“When we know what God says about us and the world, what others say doesn’t hurt so much.”
“God tells us there is a time to speak and a time to stay silent. But silence never applies when it comes to sharing the gospel message.”
“God’s word isn’t going anywhere. If you were to shut up the mouths of every single believer on this earth, the heavens will declare the glory of the Lord and the rocks would cry out in our place.”
“Are you silencing yourself or is someone silencing you?”
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires. We have a great show today and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. I also have some exciting news … a 6 week apologetics course begins in March and the cost is only $49.99 for the entire course with study guides, resource list, PPT and lots of information. If you want to be able to defend the faith with evidence and strategic dialogue, you do not want to miss this.
I am capping the class at 20 people for better conversation. This is not a bible study, it is an online class with reading material, note taking and it will equip you to defend the faith. These are things every church should be teaching and every Christian should know.
If you want to get signed up, go to the link at shandafulbright.com/links and hit the apologetics course button. It’s that easy. All of the information will be there for you.
Ok, today we have a packed episode for you.
I am talking about speaking truth and what it means to be a Christian in 2021. As you know, last month President Trump was permanently banned from Twitter. FB locked him out until Biden’s inauguration on the 20th. Many people celebrated this event saying Trump incited violence on the Capitol on January 6th.
We already saw big tech censorship during 2020 with COVID. If anyone said anything against the mainstream narrative in regards to how Covid should be handled, posts were being removed because “fact checkers” didn’t agree.
I don’t know about you, but I already saw the handwriting on the wall for free speech then.
But when big tech banned Trump and then Apple and Google removed Parler and Amazon took the app down, I knew then that we are never going back to what we call free speech in America.
Let me also say this … it’s sort of like a disclaimer because this isn’t about defending Trump. We’re talking about the threat to free speech. That’s the premise of this podcast .. the whole purpose for it.
I never had a Twitter account. I ended my FB account on Dec 01 because FB was becoming too invasive. For now, I am on IG and will explore other social media options in the meantime.
I’m going to be honest and say I think Trump says a lot of dumb things at times and I don’t always agree with him. He is very unpolished and probably doesn’t think before he speaks.
But like I said during my episode on “How should Christians vote” I look at policies. And I do not agree with him being banned from social media.
I don’t care who it is.
If it’s Biden, BLM, the NRA, atheists, Christians, Buddhists, and the list goes on … once you ban free speech, especially with the sitting president of the United States, you will ban anyone.
We’ll get into more of that soon.
Besides the hypocrisy regarding Twitter banning Trump because of what they call “violent” speech (high jacked term), it is also deceptive because if we’re really trying to protect people, why not take down porn sites, pedophilia (remember back in 2020 when pedophiles were allowed to express their attraction to minors on Twitter?).
Give me a break!!
What are we truly censoring here?
This podcast is about being real with you and for that reason, I want to tell you that biblical truth is next. It’s going to be illegal to speak of sin, hell, against gender specificity, against homosexuality, and anything that is culturally acceptable today.
The point of today’s episode is to encourage you to speak truth anyway. The reality is if we cannot speak truth when it costs us nothing … because let’s face it, getting unfollowed on social media isn’t much of a price to pay …we will not speak truth when it costs us anything at all.
So how do we remedy that?
Well, the good news is that the Bible speaks to this very thing and that’s the example we’re going to use today.
- Can words be violent?
- How do we stand for truth in the midst of ideological conflict?
- What do we do if our freedom of speech is taken away?
So why are we at this turning point in America?
I’ve said it before … I am not a political podcaster, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think Christians should be involved in politics. Our biblical worldview invades every area of our lives and one of the reasons we’re in the mess we’re in is because for too long we were told, and we believed, that there is a separation of church and state. We’ve misunderstood what that means and told each other that the Constitution says to stay out of politics.
I go into this more on the episode, “How should Christians vote” so you can check that out if you want more information.
We’ve also arrived at this point in America because Christians became consumers of culture and stopped producing and impacting culture a long time ago. Christians stopped writing literature, we bowed out of entertainment, copped out of education, stopped throwing our hat into the ring of politics, and we were told to shut up and we did.
The church used to be the ones who took in the widows and the orphans.
The church used to be the ones to feed the poor. We used to be the place that provided familial support for parenting, adoption, homelessness, and all of the ills of society, but we’ve stepped aside and stopped producing.
And now the church is seen as insignificant, irrelevant and insufficient. So, what does this have to do with our words? It’s all tied together. Because no one in politics wonders what the church has to say anymore. We’re not a key player anymore.
And I guess you can think of this episode as a warning, a heads-up, a call to prepare your heart and ask God for the strength to speak the truth no matter the cost because in America, free speech has already been breached.
So the first topic of conversation: do words have the potential of being violent?
I was talking to someone the other day, about when this whole “words are violent” thing started picking up speed in the online era. In the education system, we call it cyber bullying. Cyber bullying began with social media, so obviously it hasn’t been around that long.
Kids started committing suicide due to how they were being treated online. Depression and anxiety rose because of how the kids interact with each others posts. Did they get enough likes? Has anyone commented on their picture? Did they get snapped back?
Parents and educators were at a loss with how to deal with cyber bullying at first because let’s face it … we didn’t have to deal with it. But now, if your kid is involved in cyber bullying and its 11:00 at night, the school can get involved. It’s that serious.
But the actual definition of violence is: Behavior or treatment in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of causing damage or injury.
When taking this definition into consideration, violence doesn’t apply to language.
It can’t. It doesn’t mean what others say it means. Words alone cannot damage or injure.
Now, can words promote violence? Absolutely. So first things, first … use the right language if you’re going to speak. And if you make a mistake with language, correct it. I’ve posted things on social media before in error and have had to go back and correct my error to my audience.
The bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.” What does that mean? You’ll suffer the consequences of your words.
Should there be accountability for our words?
Yes. But who makes the rules? As I’ve said, Twitter allowed pedophiles to express their attraction to minors in 2020. Why is that OK? Is that inciting violence according to their terms?
In 2017, California’s former governor Jerry Brown passed a law that said there could be jail time for anyone who does not use the proper gender pronouns when addressing transgender people. He said don’t worry though … it’s more of a scare tactic than anything else.
In the medical field in California, employees have been given a list of terms they can no longer use in the hospitals. Things that may be related to sexist, gender or offensive terms. You know, things like, “Man the station”, or “You’re a rockstar.” Those things are off limits now because they could be harmful to someone else.
So again, I ask .. who makes the rules?
Who says what’s “violent” and who gets to hold you accountable? Because this is not going to end well.
Here’s the truth … God is going to hold ALL of us accountable for our words. Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
Some translations say “idle words”. What does that mean? In context, Jesus is talking about the source of our words. In the few verses above, He talked about how our words come from the good treasure stored in our hearts or the evil treasure.
Idle words aren’t necessarily “bad” words, but they are fruitless, pointless and meaningless. Remember, God speaks with purpose every time. He used words to create the world. Do you think He’s going to let us have a pass for how we misuse ours? Not according to His word.
You may wonder … well, Shanda, how do we know which words are idle or fruitless?
What do you think people in charge are supposed to do? How do they gage whether words are fruitful or not? Doesn’t someone have to control society?
I expect leaders to have some sense .. some wisdom … and in America, I expect them to stop pretending to be godly and to actually use God’s word as the standard. The bible tells us not to: lie, gossip, slander, speak evil, allow unwholesome language come out of our mouths.
And James gives this warning: no man can bridle the tongue. It is an unruly evil. It cannot be tamed.
So, what do we do when it comes to offensive words? Jesus said offenses will come, but woe to him through whom they come. You will not get away from words that offend.
It’s how you identify them and handle them that will make or break you.
Learn to discern what is truth and what is not. When we know what God says about us and the world, what others say won’t hurt so much.
Teach the truth to your kids. Speak life into them. When they hear hurtful words and lies from others, they will have the truth to see right through it and be able to process it.
How do we stand for truth in the midst of ideological conflict?
The simple answer is: know truth! Don’t rely on me, your pastor, or anyone else to teach it to you. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know what they’re talking about. Know it for yourself.
The first thing you should do is realize it’s here. There are a lot of people that are in denial that we are on the edge of being censored for our beliefs because “we live in America”.
We are warring against ideologies and worldviews such as critical race theory. A few weeks ago, a 3rd grade class in Northern California (don’t move here, btw), had 8 year olds take a test where they identified how privileged they were based on their gender, race, if they were Christians, etc.
If you think ideological conflict isn’t here, I can’t convince you.
CRT is in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches about oppression.
Gender dysphoria, gender as a social construct, gender equality, gender fluidity are all ideologies that we are being bombarded with, and our kids are being bombarded with on a daily basis.
After you realize the ideological war is here, do something about it. Read your bible and arm yourself with the truth of God’s word. Study the word. Dig deep.
I tell my boys that it’s not about how young or old they are when it comes to standing up for what they believe in, it’s about knowledge. Let’s think about it for a minute. We still have free speech right now. Social media platforms are one thing, but you can speak freely at this moment under the protection of the first amendment. That hasn’t been a reason people don’t speak up in this country. It’s usually not because someone has silenced you.
It’s usually because we silence ourselves. We feel inadequate or like we don’t know enough.
Like I told my son, when you know what you believe and why you believe it, you will fee confident enough to step into the conversation and I’m telling you, we need your voice.
Then teach it to your kids. Be intentional about it. Your kids are going to hear some crazy stuff, especially if they’re in public school. You must intercept the ideologies of culture.
Third, educate yourself on the talking points of culture today.
I’m going to do an episode on CRT, but learn more about this topic from people like Allie Stuckey, Voddie Bauchaum, Alisa Childers. It’s important to be aware of what’s being said. But be careful. These things are not in line with biblical truth so do not adopt them.
Know terms that are being hijacked. I’ve mentioned this on my Instagram stories and Mama Bear Apologetics mentions this, but you must be able to define terms and make others define terms when they have these kinds of conversations with you.
Terms like: tolerance, hate, bigot, racist, love, justice, truth, violence (which I already talked about) … have been redefined in our society.
A few weeks ago, one of my boys was kicked out of his class for using an American flag as his profile picture with the words “Offended? I’ll help you pack”. In the same class, another student used a picture of Hitler as his profile picture and he was allowed to stay.
My husband handled the issue and my son was allowed back in class, but the argument was that the message was negative and would not be tolerated. However, the school has 3 things in which they stress to their students and one of them is tolerance.
Without a disagreement, tolerance doesn’t exist.
The definition of tolerance states that there must be a difference in opinion or behavior in order for tolerance to take place. It’s an agreement to disagree.
So, don’t preach tolerance to my kid and then kick him out of class because you won’t tolerate his views on patriotism. Again, do we understand what we’re talking about? If you hear these words in conversations, ask your opponent to define their terms.
FYI: I will go into this a bit in the online apologetics class and I hope to have an episode about how to reason and argue for a defense of the faith soon.
What do we do if our freedom of speech is taken away?
First, be encouraged that this isn’t anything new. Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The heart of humanity has been wicked from the beginning and this has happened all throughout history.
If you read the book of Acts, you get to about chapter 4 when the disciples are told to shut their pie holes. I mean, it didn’t take long for Jesus to ascend into heaven before His disciples started to make trouble. What was the trouble? They were speaking the name of Jesus.
And 4:2 says the religious leaders (the same ones who crucified Jesus) were really annoyed and they arrested them. But it was too late because the men who heard Peter preaching got saved.
So the political and religious leaders told the disciples not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
And verse 19 says, “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you be the judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”
Do you ever feel that way? Like you just can’t shut up? I tell my husband all the time that this mouth of mine is going to get me into trouble. And it’s not that I say anything deliberately offensive to any one person … it’s just sharing the word of God and the absolute truth of it that will make people hate you. If you’re there, let’s have dinner. We can hug each other.
And as you keep reading, the disciples went back and told their friends what the political and religious leaders said and they lifted up their voices to God about it. And in verse 29, they said, “And now Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.”
God doesn’t want us to be quiet when it comes to telling others about Him.
And trust me when I tell you there are days when I wonder if I can do it. But I ask all the more for boldness to proclaim His name no matter if it costs me a few social media followers, or if it costs me more than that. I don’t want it to cost me, but I can’t control that. I can only be obedient to Him and ask Him to grant me boldness to stand for truth when it’s in season or out.
What I tell myself often is that God’s word is not going to be stopped. Not only that, but the church … the true God fearing, truth speaking, Jesus loving church will not be stopped. Jesus told Peter that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
The enemy has tried to stop God’s word and God’s people from speaking it since the beginning.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Luke 16:17 says, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a pen to drop out of the law.”
God’s word isn’t going anywhere.
If you were to shut up the mouths of every single believer on this earth, the heavens will declare the glory of the Lord and the rocks would cry out in our place.
Hebrews 11 tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses … others who have gone on before us and carried the word of the Lord in their mouths. They passed the word down from one generation to another before they died like a runner passing a baton.
And now, you and I carry that word in our hearts and in our mouths and we pass the word on to our children … the next generation.
Those in Hebrews 11 are no longer here, but the word of God goes on. One day, you and I will no longer be here, but whether this word is carried on through my mouth or if I shut it up for fear of others, it will prevail.
And for that reason, I ask God for boldness to speak it no matter what. If the word lives on in me, I will be added to the cloud of witnesses and cheer others onto glory as they speak a word that will never fade, never fail, never falter, will never be forgotten or fall to the ground.
It is a powerful word that sets captives free, opens the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf … and I’m not talking about physical blindness and deafness here. It reconciles God to man and man to neighbor. By the word the souls of humanity are drawn back to their maker and without the word the Bible asks us how can they hear unless someone is sent to them to speak the word?
The disciples had it tough! They were all martyred except John the apostle who was exiled to Patmos and boiled for his testimony of Jesus. We have it pretty good. That’s why I say if we can’t speak when there’s no price to pay, we won’t speak when it costs us even a little.
What does Jesus say about all of this?
One night, Paul is in Corinth (Acts 18:9) and the Lord visited him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent.”
You see, Paul was a man and probably got scared. It’s easy to read things about Daniel in a lions den and think Daniel was cool and braided some lions main because he was super chill all night. They were human, just like you and me.
But Jesus tells us to keep on speaking. Don’t be afraid.
We will be met with opposition no matter if we can speak freely or not. The gospel offends. Why does it offend? Because it tells us we can’t save ourselves. It tells us we’re sinners in need of a God. It tells us we have to confess this God as Lord and that His Son died on a tree.
That’s not glamorous. It’s not self-seeking. Welcome to the simplicity of the gospel. You will offend others for your beliefs. Cancel culture doesn’t care who you are. If you don’t align with the culture, they’ll get you.
I want to close this up today by sharing with you that you are a child of God.
In my prayer time this morning I didn’t feel as connected to the Lord and last week I had some wonderful moments with the Lord so I was a little disappointed today. I told God I was so distracted and distraught over the uncertainty of the future.
And I had some worship music playing in the background and the song “Who you say I am” came on. You know when you just feel like words resonate with you and that God is reminding you that you belong to Him? That was me today.
God took me back to the truth and awareness that I don’t belong to this world. I belong to Him and He is in control of my future. What comes my way, He allows and what He’s called me to, He will equip me and prepare me for.
Why do I fear?
You are God’s child. Set your eyes on Him. What comes your way, He allows and what He’s called you to, He will equip and prepare you for. Why do you fear?
Know the truth. Speak the truth. Live the truth. God will take care of the rest.
I am praying for you, my friend and for boldness for all of us.
Have a great week and I’ll catch you on the next one!