I was reading a report on Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback that decided he would use his freedom of speech to protest the nation by not standing for the National Anthem at the start of the games. His agents said that he is being punished for his using his rights to speak out about what he felt were problems in the nation.
Perhaps there is some truth in what is said. I am not saying that there aren't some that feel like punishing him. The one thing that is left out of the equation by his agents is that there is also freedom of speech for the fans. The fans have just as much the right to say that they do not agree with his stance and don't want to support him nor do they want to support a team that signs him. This is what freedom of speech says. You can say what you think. I can say what I think. And we are both free to do so.
We also both have to live with the consequences of our freedom to speak out on a topic. One of the consequences that this embattled quarterback is facing is that owners and teams don't want to bring his presence into their city/team. They are looking at him and looking at the fans and deciding that perhaps it is more important to listen to the fans that pay the ticket prices and support the team financially than to support a quarterback that will drive fans away from the ticket gate. That is a consequence that Kaepernick was not planning on. It is one that he has to live with.
What is my point? There are always consequences to what we say. We do have freedom to speak as we like but we are not free from the consequences of that speech. If someone doesn't agree with me in what I say, he/she does not have to to support me. He or she can speak against me, turn away and not support what I am doing or saying. That is the other person's freedom as well.
It appears that in our world today (and this is a sweeping statement) we believe that we have freedom of speech and that everyone has to accept what we say because we said it. It also seems that it is thought that no one has the right to disagree with what we say. There is also the thought that we should not live with the consequences of our words or actions. "Let me be to do what I want," it seems to be said, "and don't you dare disagree with me or speak/act against what I said. It is my right." But, my readers, it is also the right of the other to disagree with you and to speak or even act against you. The owners don't "have" to sign Kaepernick because of what he said. They have to weigh all the different pieces and decide what is important to them. If his speech is driving people away from ticket sales, they have the right to say, "It isn't worth the cost to have him on the team." That is their right.
Living with consequences is a challenge. The greatest thing we must face is the consequence of our sin. Sin separates us from God. Sin causes problems in our lives. Sin destroys relationships. Sin destroys the relationship with God. Yes, you are free to sin. But you also must realize that you are to live with the consequence of that sin. Our sin makes it impossible to enter into heaven. Our sin makes it impossible for us to live the way that God tells us that we must live in order to save ourselves. You can go ahead and sin. That is your right. But also understand that God does not have to change what He has said for you. Sin will still damn. Sin will still separate. That is the consequence of sin.
There is only one way out of this dilemma and it isn't found in you or your actions. It is found in the grace and mercy of God. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to take the sin of the world, to suffer for it, to keep the Law perfectly and then to die upon the cross for that sin. Then on the third day, He raised Jesus from the dead in order to give eternal life. Who receives this eternal life?
All who believe in Jesus as their only Lord and Savior. Period. You have the right to disagree with that statement but know this, your disagreement doesn't change it. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life." John 3:16 This is what the Father has said. There is only one way to be saved. It is through Jesus Christ alone.
The gift is forgiveness, faith and eternal life given by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That is it. Through Him alone is life eternal with God in heaven. And yes, there are consequences to not believing in Jesus as the Savior. Do you want to live with those consequences? For me, I believe Jesus is my only Savior from sin, death and the power of the devil. Period.