Hate Speech

Freedom of speech is the right of an individual or community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction.

Hate speech is described as communication that is intended to insult, intimidate, or cause prejudice against a person or people based on their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, occupation, disability, or physical appearance.

Increasingly being included in that definition is stating certain beliefs are wrong or that certain activities are sinful, based on biblical principles. Yet telling someone the truth is an act of love, not hate. It is not hate speech for

Do not fear man but declare God's truth

a building inspector to state a certain piece of land is unsuitable for building on due to its unstableness. It is better to be told the truth upfront, than turning a blind eye to the situation and the house collapsing with the loss of life. Warning by telling someone that their lifestyle is immoral or their religion or faith system has serious Biblical errors affords them the opportunity to reconsider and hopefully change when they are presented with the facts and evidence in a gracious way. The goal of this resource is to point out the truth of God's Word, by which we individually will be judged, and where our lives fall short of God's values begin to apply change (Jn 12:48).

As believers, we are to "Speak the truth in love" yet love is not a substitute for the truth (Eph 4:15). Our conversation is to be full of grace, seasoned with salt as we defend our faith with gentleness and respect (Col 4:6; 1 Pet 3:15).

Jesus told us that if someone insults us, we should respond mildly and without offense, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Mt 5:38,39,44). Later the Bible says, "If possible, so far

Follow the example of Jesus

as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom 12:18). While we should not seek to be offensive, our priority is to the truth and point out unbiblical or incorrect beliefs. Living our faith should be done sensitively and respectively without compromising fact or biblical truth. The Bible is clear that as Christians we are to love our neighbours which includes we are not to speak about or to them hatefully (Mt 22:37-40). He set us the example, "When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly" (1 Pet 2:23).

See also: golden rule, goodwill, hate, politically correct, response, speech, truth.