A desire for equality and justice without the possibility of forgiveness and redemption or the hope of ultimate justice can lead to bitterness and a desire for revenge.
I’ve been thinking about this letter and the tension that it highlights. (If you haven’t read it yet then do)
Why does it seem that there is battle between the demands of justice and equality on the one hand and the desire for the freedom of speech and open debate on the other? After all - both of these things are actually products of the same Christian worldview.
It is Christianity that provides the philosophical basis for the equality of all people - we are created in the image of God and have infinite value. But it is also Christianity that has shaped our culture to such an extent that different views and ideas can be expressed and believed freely. Such tolerance is not universally enjoyed by any stretch of the imagination.
So why the tension?
Could it be that when you detach the fruit of the gospel (equality, justice, tolerance and freedom of speech) from the root of the gospel (Jesus) then that which should be enjoyed can become feared?
A desire for equality and justice without the possibility of forgiveness and redemption or the hope of ultimate justice can lead, if we are not careful, to bitterness, self righteousness, judgmentalism and a desire for revenge.
On the other hand, a desire for freedom of speech without the accompanying fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control) can become a means of deliberately hurting and offending others. We are to speak the truth but we are to do it in love.
We need equality and justice. We also need tolerance and freedom of speech. But most of all we need Jesus.
Michael Ots, author and speaker.
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