Every time a person gets arrested and taken into custody, he or she will hear the following words in one version or another:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…”
This is known as the “Miranda Rights” that was established in Arizona in 1966. Ernesto Miranda was imprisoned for a crime that he didn’t commit and was forced to confess. Since that time, the Miranda Rights have become standard police procedure in the United States.
The United States of America is a wonderful place to live. Everyone has rights under the law, including alleged criminals, terrorists, foreigners and the LGBT community to name a few. The Christian believers, however, are losing more and more rights every day.
It is ok to be gay in this “tolerant” and politically correct society of ours, but if we speak the name of Jesus in any context other than the church, we will be branded as “right wing fanatics” and will be accused of forcing others to follow our “religion” or faith.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still grants freedom of speech and religion to all, but the Christian faith has been under attack for a long time. The Muslim can practice their faith freely in America (and detonate a few bombs here and there), but Christians cannot pray in our schools, in our sports competitions and we are not allowed to mention Jesus or preach the Word of God in many places.
God does not have Miranda rights for his children. We are instructed, encouraged and commanded to proclaim the Gospel to all the world. Silence is golden in a movie theater and wise for people that get arrested, but it is never good for a Christian to be silent, except when we are listening from God.
The early church was threatened with imprisonment and even death, if they would mention the name of Jesus, but Peter and John replied:
“Whether is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen or heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
It is good to wait silently on the Lord and to remain silent when others attack us personally, but we must never stop talking about our Lord. The apostle Paul felt compelled to preach and even exclaimed:
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
I know that there are times when we don’t want to preach or speak about Jesus because we are discouraged. This happened to the great prophets Jonah (Jonah 1:3), Elijah (1 Kings 19) and Jeremiah, who said that there was a “burning fire” inside of him, compelling to preach (Jeremiah 20:9).
May God light some of that holy fire in our hearts, so we can speak about Him again!