I have the honor today of welcoming guest blogger and Christian author Lori Hatcher to share a devotion from her new book Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.
Facetime: God, I can’t believe she just said that to me! Why shouldn’t I respond the same way?
As we exited the Metro station in Washington, D.C., my daughter and I stumbled upon a crowd of 300 to 500 people huddled under umbrellas around a stage bigger than their gathering. In an article I saw later, Huffington Post reporter Kimberly Winston estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the “Reason Rally” Largest Gathering of Nonbelievers.4
One of us miscounted.
As we made our way to the Tidal Basin that ringed the city, the voice of the rally’s speaker carried clearly across the largely empty grassy area. I only had to listen for a moment to realize two things. First, he was angry. He was railing at people of faith—so angry in fact he was cursing them. I wondered, ironically, what power he felt he had in damning people in the name of a God he didn’t believe in.
Second, as I observed the uniformed police officers with fierce looking canines encircling the staging area, I realized they were there not to censor his speech but to protect it. His right to speak—even hateful, damning speech—is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution.
This unsaved person was exercising a freedom I as a Christian do not have.
I can’t curse those who don’t believe as I do. I can’t express hate or disdain for those who criticize what I hold dear. I can’t outshout, bully, or taunt them. I can’t exercise the liberty of free speech because I answer to a higher law.
I answer to the Word of God. Jesus told me, bless those who curse you (Matthew 5:44, NKJV), speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
I can choose to say angry, bitter, destructive words to those who disagree with me, but should I? The love of God compels me to do otherwise.
James 3:17-18 reads, But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
That day, walking away from the “largest gathering of nonbelievers,” I chose to exercise my God-given freedom of speech. I chose to pray for those who were despitefully using my fellow believers and me (Luke 6:28, NKJV).
And I did it out loud.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
This devotion is an excerpt from Lori Hatcher’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God is the nutrition women need to get through the day.
Lori knows what it’s like to be busy. And what it’s like to struggle to make time for God. Her passion is helping women connect with God in the craziness of everyday life. A Yankee transplant living in Columbia, South Carolina, Lori uses her speaking and writing ministry to equip and empower women. She’d love to connect with you on her blog (www.LoriHatcher.com), on Facebook – Hungry For God, and Twitter @lorihatcher2.
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