Stephen is considered by most to be the protomartyr of the Christian faith. His message to the Sanhedrin takes up 52 verses (almost the whole of Acts 7) in which he gives a history of Israel and her disobedience to God with a heavy emphasis on Moses. He speaks to God’s glory and tells his accusers that God does not dwell only in the temple or “houses made by human hands”. He finishes by comparing those listening to their ancestors - rebellious... disobedient… and ends by admonishing them. His speech had teeth. It had conviction. It had truth. It was a grand speech. And he was legally executed for it.
Isn’t it our innate, God-given ability and right to connect our mind to our mouth and make words? To connect our thoughts to our tongues and coherently verbalize ideas?
Now, I’m not talking about our American 1st Amendment right to free speech. I’m talking about our rights as humans, created in God’s image. We were given the capacity for speech by God, for His glory.
Why then, are people being executed daily for doing just that?
I posit that it is not the mere fact that they are speaking. Many have been killed for simply thinking or speaking. But NOT by the numbers that Christians have been executed for thinking or speaking. It is more than just speaking things that contradict a certain idea or person or group of people that are corrupt or in power, it is speaking the truth that lands so many Christians before the proverbial “firing-squad”.
“No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth” - Plato
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." - George Orwell
James 3:3-6 “The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
Words have power.
Power enough to cause a great prophet to become undone at the idea that his mouth, his words, his tongue had so offended Almighty God.
Matthew 15:18; "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person."
Matthew 12:37; "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The tongue is mighty.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue."
With our tongue we praise God, we pray and petition regularly, we raise up, we encourage, we edify, we teach diligently our children, we cry Abba, Father, we call out the name of the Lord… and with this same tongue we curse God, we profane His name, we slander, we gossip, we lie, we lead our children astray, we hurt those we love…
What devastation our tongue can bring about: In anger, in jealousy, in envy, in hurt, in simply not knowing how to tame it?
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