Jesus said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32), but would you be willing to go to jail for speaking it? Our culture is immersed in assimilated lies about who we are, what we are made for, and what is right and what is wrong. How will we get free?
When the communists took over Romania in 1947, Christians were rounded up, imprisoned and murdered. Bibles were considered contraband and anyone possessing a Bible would be considered a counter-revolutionary and an enemy of the state. This was the case in China for many years and it is the current situation in places like Iran and North Korea. You can think what you want in private, but you can only speak the party line. This is true in our culture today regarding the issues surrounding sexuality. We are allowed to think that certain sexual behaviors are wrong but it is nearly illegal to say so, in spite of the first amendment. So, how do we get along? Do we have to speak the party line?
One Christian, in Communist Romania, did not believe so. A Communist lecturer was teaching his class one day saying, “Jesus was nothing more than a magician…” The lecturer filled a vase of water with a powder that turned the water red like wine. The Christian stood up and said, “You have amazed us, comrade! But there is only one more thing I would like to see from you…drink your wine!” The lecturer said, “I cannot do this because the powder is a poison.” The Christian said, “This is the difference between the Communists and Christ. Jesus made a wine that has given us joy for two thousand years. You are giving us poison.” The man was arrested and sent to prison but his words reverberated throughout the country, bringing boldness to other Christians. But was it worth it?
How can the truth set us free and still send us to prison? I have heard Christians from Iran who had spent time in prison because of their faith declare that they had more freedom to worship God in prison than they did outside of prison. Outside the prison, everyone was afraid of being arrested and they were very careful about when and where they worshiped. But inside the prison, everyone was free to express their faith openly because they had already been imprisoned. They were still beaten for worshiping the one true God, but they no longer felt a need to hide their faith.
Many Christians are handcuffed with fear.
A popular slogan says, “Freedom is never free.” So, what are we willing to pay for freedom? Are we willing to endure the insults of our friends and coworkers? When they call us “intolerant” and “bigot”, are we to cower in fear? No! It is fear that keeps us enslaved! As one imprisoned Christian pointed out, “The Bible says ‘Do not fear’ three hundred and sixty-six times. That is once for every day, including the leap year.” The Bible also says that the one who fears has not been perfected in love, but God’s perfect love will drive out all fear (1 John 4:18). Faith in God’s love brings freedom. Be free and resolve to speak only the truth forever.